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Keats as a Romantic Poet: A study based on Ode to a Nightingale The nineteenth century is marked in the history of literature with numerous changes and reforms. It is the Romantic Age in Literature. English Romanticism found its consummate expression in the poetry of the period…
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Download file to see previous pages The Romantic Movement thus became a revolutionary phase in the history of English poetry. Keats once said “I think I shall be among the English poets after my death”. Mathew Arnold commenting upon this statement said” He is with Shakespeare “.T. S Eliot in spite of his reservations and qualifications about romantic poetry, in general, conceded that the kind of poetry which Keats wrote seems “much more the kind of Shakespeare”. He also said that Keats had, like Shakespeare, a philosophic mind”. It is indeed a credit to Keats that he has been compared to Shakespeare by some of the most eminent critics of our time. The essential quality of Keats as a poet is his sensitiveness to beauty. With singleness of aim he seeks for “the principle of beauty in all things. Poets like Milton, Wordsworth and Shelly also worshipped, but they had secondary moral intentions. He worships beauty with the unreasoning rapture of a child or a lover. Keats poetry has a sensuous richness. All that appeals to the senses is vividly described in his poems. In early poems, the sensuous richness is too great. This is merely the eager lavishness of youth rejoicing in its abundance, and not yet disciplined by good taste. Once Keats expressed his love of sensuousness and delights by preferring sensation to thought, “O for a life of sensation rather than of thought”. None of Keats predecessors had the same keen eagerness as had Keats to taste all earthly delights to burst joy’s grape against his palate fine” and to convey in verse the wealth of his sensations. By describing life as it impinged upon the sensuous, Keats greatly widened the sensuous realm of poetry. The finest of the four odes written in the spring of 1819the ‘Ode to A Nightingale’ is the passionately human and personal. He did not think about the particular bird of Hampstead but of its song which had been beautiful and delightful for centuries. The poem as we know was composed in the morning and but in the ode, the Queen moon is on her throne and the Nightingale is a type of the race imagined as singing in a far-off scene of woodland mystery, of verdurous gloom and winding mossy way. The poet would like to escape from the woes of the world,”Where youth grows pale and specter-thin, to the fairy land, to the …melodious plot, Of beeches green and shadows numberless”. Ode to the nightingale, though not so classic in its perfection, is richer in emotion and is truly romantic in haunting suggestiveness and melody. It might even be said that the ‘ode to autumn is to the Nightingale, what the poetry of Pope is to Keats. The Nightingale has true romantic spirit, attempts the impossible and like all romantic poetry pleases us by its very glorious failure. This ode is deeply charged with human feeling and the mood here is very intense. Crushed down by a personal loss, the poet is tortured by the thought of instability of man’s estate on earth and his continual suffering and decay in the world. The enjoyed sensuous experience is shown in the poem ‘The Ode To Nightingale’. Sidney Colvin regards it as “one among the glories of English poetry”. The song of the nightingale is the first experience that gives him ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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