Keats' Poems and Letters
Comparison of "Ode to a Nightingale", "To Autumn" and "Bright Star would I were steadfast as thou art"
Keats’s preoccupation with the inescapable precession of time and mutability is evident in all three poems: “Ode to a Nightingale,”, the ode “To Autumn” and the sonnet, “Bright Star, Would I were as Steadfast as Thou Art.” In his “Ode to a Nightingale,” the bird’s singing becomes a symbol for Keats, of a place that is impervious to human despair and constant in its same eternal song; he wishes to escape to it before realizing that it would cast him into a state of non-existence, whereby he retracts. Similarly, in his sonnet, “Bright Star, Would I were as Steadfast as Thou Art,” Keats realizes that his worship of an ideal world would negate the happiness he is experiencing which leads him to reject his former yearnings. “To Autumn,” however, is an unqualified celebration of Nature and of change, which suggest Keats’s ultimate maturation of thought, whereby he ceases to desire the impossible, instead replacing his thought with the acknowledgement and acceptance that nature will continue to proceed, despite the fact that he won’t be there to witness the flux of time.
“Ode to a Nightingale” begins with a soporific heaviness, an intense description of “drowsy numbness” and the “[pain]” that encroaches into this state despite its...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 820 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6114 literature essays, 1715 sample college application essays, 245 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in