The poem A Thing of Beauty written by John Keats is about the poet’s views on beauty and its importance in life. Before moving further, I would like to tell that John Keats belonged to the Romantic Period, the theme of which was “Return to Nature“.
The poem has is based on the theme of Romantic Poetry. The Romantic Poets believed that the materialistic world (which was emerging fast during those days due to the Industrial Revolution) has given birth to greed, corruption, lust and craze for material things.
The Romantic Poets thus escaped to the rustic life in order to get closer to nature, which according to them is the ultimate source of peace, happiness and joy.
I have divided the poem A Thing of Beauty into four stanzas. Stanza 1 consists of five lines. Stanza 2 consists of eight lines. Stanza 3 consists of seven lines and Stanza 4 consists of five lines. The Rhyme Scheme of the poem is AABB.
A Thing of Beauty Poem Summary
The poem begins with the famous line A thing of beauty is a joy forever meaning that a beautiful thing always gives joy to humans. It will never Pass into nothingness i.e. its beauty will never die, instead its loveliness increases.
The poet then compares the thing of beauty with a number of other things to describe how much important it is for us. According to him, it is a bower quiet for us i.e. it is like the peaceful shade of plants for us.
It is a sleep full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. By comparing the thing of beauty by all these things he wants to prove that it has a significant role to play in the life of human beings.
In the next stanza, the poet says that as the thing of beauty is fundamentally important to us, every morning, we collect the flower-like charm of the beautiful things and make a band of it that gives us joy.
There are unhappy moments in our life. We lack nature in the inhumane materialistic life. We have to face unhealthy ways, griefs and even failures. But in spite of all these gloomy things, a thing of beauty takes away all these troubles and gives us the joy and peace.
In the third stanza, the poet gives examples of things of beauty that give us joy and happiness. Examples include the Sun, the Moon, trees old, and young [that grow up and give peaceful shade to our spirit (innocent sheep)], daffodils (that make the earth green), pure and cool streams.
There are summers in which the fair musk-rose blooms that shine (sparkle) the season.
Finally, the poet refers to the beauty of the grandeur (magnificent and impressive memory) of the mighty dead i.e. the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the good cause. There is the joy of the lovely tales that we have heard or read which we hear about them.
Thus nature is the endless fountain of immortal drink which it pours unto us from the heaven’s brink. The line means that nature gives us immortal joy that comes from heaven and hence it is the ultimate source of happiness.