Introduction

A Thing of Beauty Is A Joy Forever, written by John Keats is a poem about the thoughts on beauty and its significance in life. Endymion, a shepherd who was granted immortality in Greek mythology, was the inspiration for this poem.

The poem is based on the Romantic Poetry concept. The Romantic poets thought that the materialistic world had given rise to materialism, corruption, lust, and a desire for material possessions. As a result, the Romantic Poets escaped to the countryside in order to be closer to nature, which they saw as the ultimate source of peace and joy.

About The Poet

John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English poet of the second generation of Romantic poets. His writing style included sensory imagery, since he possessed the ability to create a live vision with just his words. His work was mostly concerned with themes of beauty and creativity.

Theme

In this poem, John Keats, a romantic poet, writes of love, beauty, and youth. If a beautiful object is cherished in our minds, it is because it brings us everlasting happiness. When a beautiful item comes to our minds, the joy it brings never fades away, but multiplies many times over. The poet writes in the poem that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever,” implying that the beauty of an object is a joy even in the midst of sickness, sorrows, and disappointments of life. Even when they are not in front of our eyes, the object of beauty leaves an unforgettable impact on us. The happiness it provides us with, never fades away, but becomes stronger every time it crosses our minds.

Structure

“A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever” being written by a Romantic poet, belongs to the Romantic genre. It consists of rhyming couplets. The rhyme sceme of the poem is aabb. 

Poem

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever :
 Its loveliness increases;  it will never
 Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

This poem is the source of one of English literature’s most famous phrases, “a thing of beauty is a joy for ever.” This line implies that the world’s beauty is eternal, and that beauty does not change with the seasons or as humans progress. Something beautiful will always remain beautiful, and it will impart happiness to the hearts of all those who see it. As time passes, these things gain more beauty and become more exquisite. The world’s, or nature’s, beauty will never fade.

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep 
Full of sweet dreams, and health and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing 
A flowery band to bind us to the earth, 
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
 Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways 
Made for our searching : yes, in spite of all, 
Some shape of beauty moves a way the pall

The bower here, suggests a relaxing and rejuvenating environment. For those who seek it, this bower delivers a pleasant sleep while maintaining their health and pleasure. This bower is clearly a metaphor for Mount Latmus, where Endymion spent eternity sleeping while still young and healthy. This bower provides a relaxing environment for us, as evidenced by the “quiet breathing” and “sweet dreams.” 

People remain on Earth joyously because of the beauty of the world, which gives us a sense of calmness. We wreath a “flowery band” that encircles us and holds us in the beauty that surrounds us, allowing us to appreciate it despite the terrors that exist around us. Despondence and gloom do not overcome the delight that beauty offers to the heart, therefore the shape of beauty pushes away all the things that harm the heart.  

“pall” is a feeling of sorrow or anxiety that is driven away by the world’s beauty. There is no room in a person for both despair and joy, because beauty provides delight for the rest of one’s life, whilst terrors bring only momentary sadness.

From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep ; and such are daffoldils
With the green world they live in ; and clear rills 
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season ; the mid forest brake, 
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms : 
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead; 
 All lovely tales that we have heard or read : 
An endless fountain of immortal drink
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink

The poet describes the forms of beauty that drive the darkness out of our minds in this poem. The sheep of the fields find comfort in the sun, moon, and shade of the trees, much as daffodils dance in the breeze when surrounded by greenery.

The sprinkling streams create tiny thickets for animals to hide in, as well as provide refreshing water to everyone who passes by. The “mid forest brake” is the heavy growth that can be observed in the middle of a forest, this area is full of flowers and trees, as well as a lovely scent from the many blooms that lie inside it.

The poet speaks of the beauty of the grandeur (glorious remembrance) of the mighty dead (the martyrs who laid down their lives). The lovely places aren’t simply restricted to nature; mankind also depicts the afterlife of martyrs and freedom fighters in even more magnificence. We have created the beauty that one experiences after death as a mirror of the beauty experienced prior to death. There is the joy of the lovely tales we have heard or read about them. 

Finally, the poet describes nature as the endless fountain of an immortal drink which it pours unto us from the heaven’s brink. Nature provides us with eternal joy that comes from heaven, and hence it is the supreme source of happiness.