Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy For Ever

For a Friend

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 always must be with us, or we die.

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The very music of the name has gone
Into my being, and each pleasant scene
Is growing fresh before me as the green
Of our own valleys: so I will begin
Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests; while the willow trails
Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
My little boat, for many quiet hours,
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimmed and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finished: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end!
And now at once, adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.

From John Keats epic poem Endymion, 1818

Keats found that beauty (something of beauty) is a source of perennial joy and happiness... it leaves an indelible mark on our mind and provides us with eternal happiness whenever we think about it... our joy increases as we keep on remembering the beauty ... it is just like Endymion looking for Cynthia as his everlasting love ...(according to Greek Mythology)

Still from film 'Bright Star' ... Jane Campion.

14 comments:

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Unlike my garden, which is a thing of beauty but a job forever.

dianne said...

My garden too dear J Cosmo ...Sometimes it is a labour of love, sometimes it is just labour ...
but the beautiful rewards are worth the effort. ♡

Alexander Dyle said...

Now, that's a poem. Like Wordsworth, Keats knew how to write poems. A poem that one needs to read & re-read to get deeper & deeper into it. When I first heard of the term, The Bower, many years ago, I wondered what it really meant, so I went to find out. I remember I wrote something back in August 2006 about Jane Austen's The Bower. I reprint here for you:

‘In 1792 when 17, Jane Austen wrote a short novel called The Bower (or Catharine):

“Besides these antidotes against every disappointment, and consolations under them, she had another, which afforded her constant relief in all her misfortunes, and that was a fine shady bower, the work of her own infantine labours assisted by those of two young companions who had resided in the same village. To this bower, which terminated a very pleasant and retired walk in her aunt's garden, she always wandered whenever anything disturbed her, and it possessed such a charm over her senses, as constantly to tranquillize her mind and quiet her spirits. Solitude and reflection might perhaps have had the same effect in her bed chamber, yet habit had so strengthened the idea which fancy had first suggested, that such a thought never occurred to Kitty who was firmly persuaded that her bower alone could restore her to herself.”

For Catharine, The Bower was a particular flower-covered latticework in her Aunt's garden. For you, it may be a quiet place you know of, that you retreat to. For another, it may be the inside of a single hollow tree in the middle of Richmond Park in London, from where one can look at the world go by outside. Sometimes we need to go to a resting place. A place to let the mind wander. A place where one can do nothing, plan nothing, meet no one. Resting is often seen today as wasting valuable time in our short lives. Hence, it is not encouraged generally. Activities rather, are seen as the best way to make use of our lives, whether at work or in recreation. While there is no denying that activity is definitely part of the human enjoyment of life, so too is calmness.’

dianne said...

Yes dear Alexander
that is a poem, a poem which I enjoy reading very much...it is so beautiful.
Within it Keats says so much, I love the words he uses they are so vivid I can visualise the imagery and feel the emotion which it evokes in me...I could quote many line here which touch me but there is no space...
I feel as if I am bound to the earth and nature,as I lay down enclosed in a forest of green, of trailing vines and soft leaves forgeting about everything which is unimportant, clearing my mind of all but how this place makes me feel.
I have my Bower for solitude and reflection,planted by myself and nurtured by nature, in fact I can find this peace in many places where I am lost amongst trees or in a beautiul garden, my bedroom is calming, this feeling of peace can be found in many places if one is afforded the quietness...
You have your tree in Richmond Park, London, you see I do take notice of what you write...and I am sure that you too can find this peace in other places.
I'm so pleased that you enjoy this poem. ♡

puerileuwaite said...

I like to start out every business meeting with this poem. Not only is it beautiful; it also weeds out the slackers who just showed up for the donuts.

dianne said...

So pleased that you are here Puggles my sweet.
Yes this poem is beautiful, a good test of anyone to see if they can go the distance, this is just a small introduction of the epic poem which I am sure you have read.
Donuts, not fond of them, do you have anything else to offer? xo ♡

The Phosgene Kid said...

Ugly is forever too!!

dianne said...

Hello Phossy dear,
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. ♡

Ruela said...

Happy 2010 dear Dianne!

dianne said...

Thank you dear Ruela
I wish you a Happy 2010 my friend, I hope it is both happy on a personal level and successful for your artistic career. xo ♡

Aren O. Týr said...

Poetry of that quality does indeed reveal it to be one of the highest of all arts.

Superb.

dianne said...

Yes dear Aren

It is indeed a most beautiful poem, an epic poem, the kind of poem that one would wish to aspire to but never match. ♡

Leovi said...

Great poem. I try all my works to contain the beauty that is the food of the spirit.

dianne said...

I am so pleased that you enjoyed this poem dear Leovi , yes it is a great poem and very beautiful.

xoxoxo ♡