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A thing of beauty is a joy for

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A thing of beauty is a joy for

`A thing of beauty is a joy forever`. How far and in what ways does Keats communicate this belief in his odes.

Emotion was the key element of any Romantic poet, the intensity of which is present in all of Keats poems. Keats openly expressed feelings ignoring stylistic rules which suppressed other poets.

Keat's poems display a therapeutic experience, as many of his Odes show a sense of struggle to accept, and a longing to search for an emotion which he could feed off for his eternity. As romantics emphasised beauty in order to replace the lack of religion. The quote `A thing of beauty is a joy forever`, I believe tormented him ever since he wrote `Endymion`, the Odes to be discussed are hence almost a progression of thought and understanding of his own beliefs.

?Ode to Autumn? is perhaps the greatest of nature poems written , and I can only agree when Cedric Watts wrote that it is a `richly resourceful yet alert and unsentimental?. Keats creates a sumptuousness which reflects the beauty he has found in Autumn. The intonation within the first stanza is almost of excitement, as if this beauty has suddenly unleashed itself onto his senses, its effect is more powerful than the drug induced mood in `Nightingale`. The first line introduces us to the personified autumn. The exclamatory phrase `mellow fruitfulness` heightens the syntax tone immediately and prepares the reader for a stanza rich in tactile and visual images which intensify this opening.

The beauty of autumn is emphasised through phrases like; `ripeness to the core`, `swell the gord`, ` o?verbrimmed their clammy cells?. Keat's use of the adjective `plump` as a verb excels this `ripeness` and together intensifies the beauty, which is emphasised through the repetition of `more` and `still more`. Keats almost forces his subject at us.

The central stanza is almost a `breathing space` for the reader, to interact with the poem. Keats creates a hypnotic mood almost lethargic. Keats achieves this through his language. The use of `carless` and `soft-lifted`. The alliteration of `winnowing winds` and the assonance of `sound asleep`, almost attack our aural senses and draws us deep into an almost dream like state: `Winnowing wind, or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep, Drowsed with the fume of poppies?.

The use of `drowsed? is deliberate and for emphasis, to achieve this tiredness, as does the sensual smells of `poppies`.

The punctuation emphasises the intonation. The pause after the `poppies` is symbolic as it arouses us and tempts us to smell and hence we are enticed by the drug. The pause after ` grannery floor`, reflects the carelessness mentioned and because it's a natural process to pause after sitting. Keats is helping the reader to visualise Autumn's movements through the stanza. In this stanza the syntax is longer unlike the first verse. In the line ` or by a cider-press, with patient look? Keats creates balance with the pause, which implies order and emphasises the patience, almost reflecting Keats studied view of Autumn.

The lethargic mood is increased in the second stanza , in the final line with: `last oozings hours by hours`, as the vowel sounds soften the syntax, and the repetitive `hours` almost drags the sentence along.

The third stanza's sudden questions `where are th songs of spring? Ay, where are they?? are too forceful and abrupt from the mood set in the previous stanza, it is almost annoying. It could almost be read as Keats projecting his thoughts, as if he was engulfed in Autumn's beauty that he forgot 'spring?. I believe Keats challenges us. We are so taken in with Autumn as he hypnotises our thoughts, that he deliberately breaks our concentration as he too has realised that seasons change and we should change with them. True, spring has its songs, but so does autumn! Keats realises that this beauty will not last forever, as seasons change, but this change brings new beauty.

The onomatopoeia in the third stanza instigates a more active tone , the increasing rhythm almost represents a celebration, for the `Wailful choir the small gnats mourn? is contrasted with the `loud bleat?,`hedge-crickets sing?, `redbreast whistles? ` swallows twitter`, almost as if nature has designed a percussion to celebrate winters arrival.

Cedric Watts: `The stanza's can be seen as movement throughout the seasons, beginning with pre-harvest ripeness, moving to the repletion of harvest itself, and concluding with the emptiness following harvest, but preceding winter?.

Keats also first focuses on the vegetable world, then human activity in gathering the harvest and concludes to the world of animals, birds and insects. This progression is also in the senses, as Keats begins with tactile senses then visual and ends with auditory senses. This order reflects the message of beauty. As beauty although a joy, does not last forever, Keats begins to realise this towards the end, and hence leaves us with the pre-winter glance, as a substitute joy. As we are assured that winter will have `thy music too`! Therefore this natural beauty lasts all seasons, as nature resurrects it continuously. We, like Keats, must see this beauty first, for only then can it become a `joy forever`.

`The Nightingale` was held in high esteem by Keats. His ode, shows fascination with this bird's freedom and its joyful tune, oblivious to death. It is this tune which torments Keats. The Nightingale here is seen as a representation of beauty. Throughout this ode Keat's mood fluctuates between realism and fantasy, this almost parallels the nightingale's song as it oscillates between tune and flight.

Keats bombards us with negative images and enforces his mood of misery on us; `aches`, `drowsy numbness ` `pains`. The syntax length is long, hence it emphasises the drowsiness increased by the pauses. The reference to `hemlock I had drunk` and `dull opiate? provides the escapism Keats wants, almost to flee to the bird in ecstasy. It is in the fourth stanza that he prefers to use inspiration instead, to reach the heights of the nightingale.

Keats deliberately confuses the reader's assumptions of the poem by introducing a melancholic mood. The `melodious plot? is emphasised through the rhythm of the poem and the extended use of vowel sounds prior to the `melodious plot. The repetition of `happy? is almost a forceful emphasis to cancel the earlier negatives. Keat's distinguished use of paradoxes, is evident here too: ` `tis not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thine happiness?. Keats has found joy in the innocence of the nightingale, who `among the leaves hast never known, the weariness, the fever and the fret here, where men sit and hear each other groan?. The bird is oblivious to the pain and death. The nightingale's song has been heard by himself ?emperor and clown? and also by the biblical ?Ruth?, the beauty, its song has mesmerised and consoled many. I believe Keat's attempts to find a lasting joy in the nightingales song, hence: `thou wast not born for death, immortal bird?. He wishes its song never to end, and when it flees the question `Do I wake or sleep`, I believe is Keats questioning, now that he is out of its trance, has he awakened to the reality of everyday existence. Where ?youth grows pale, and spectre - thin, and dies?? The deliberate punctuated pauses before the conjunction slows ...

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