Keats’ Thing of Beauty

I received this poem in my email this morning. It was sent from Poem-A-Day at Poets.org.

The line, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” has become rather trite over time. Yes, the meaning stands true, but it is spoken so often and so casually, that its message has become tepid. Reading the first two stanzas of Endymion, Book I has resurrected the line for me. It breathes again in my mind. It has stationed itself in my heart.

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from Endymion, Book I, [A thing of beauty is a joy for ever]

by John Keats

 

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

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 away the pall

From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,

Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon

For simple sheep; and such are daffodils

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.

 

Nor do we merely feel these essences

For one short hour; no, even as the trees

That whisper round a temple become soon

Dear as the temple’s self, so does the moon,

The passion poesy, glories infinite,

Haunt us till they become a cheering light

Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast,

That, whether there be shine, or gloom o’ercast,

They alway must be with us, or we die.

 

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Is there a poem (or even just a line) that you once lost connection with, but found again through a fresh reading?

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