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Chapter 4: Keeping Quiet
John Keats (1795-1821) was a British Romantic poet. Although trained to be a surgeon, Keats decided to devote himself wholly to poetry.
Keats’ secret, his power to sway and delight the readers, lies primarily in his gift for perceiving the world and living his moods and aspirations in terms of language.
The following is an excerpt from his poem ‘Endymion; A Poetic Romance’. The poem is based on a Greek legend, in which Endymion, a beautiful young shepherd and poet who lived on Mount Latmos, had a vision of Cynthia, the Moon Goddess.
The enchanted youth resolved to seek
her out and so wandered away through the forest and down under the sea.
A thing of beauty is a joy forever Its loveliness increases, it will never
Pass into nothingness; but 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.
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NCERT Solutions Class 12 English Chapter 4 A Thing Of Beauty
1. List the things of beauty mentioned in the poem.
Everything which is present in nature is a source of pleasure and a thing of beauty. A few of them are – the moon, the sun, young and old trees, small streams with clean water, daffodil flowers, blooming musk-roses and the mass of ferns. All of these are the things of beauty. They are a source of constant pleasure and joy.
2. List the things that cause suffering and pain.
There are numerous things that cause us pain and suffering. Disappointment and malice are the biggest sources of our suffering. The lack of noble qualities is the other one. Our evil and unhealthy ways give birth to many sufferings and troubles which dampen our spirits. In our lives, they act as a pall of sadness.
3. What does the line, ‘Therefore are we wreathing a flowery band to bind us to earth’ suggest to you?
The poet is a beauty lover. In order to discover beauty, he uses his senses. The link between nature and man is everlasting. The ‘things of beauty’ are similar to the beautiful flower wreaths. Every day, we seem to weave a flowery band that keeps us connected with the beauty of the earth.
4. What makes human beings love life in spite of troubles and sufferings?
There are numerous things that bring us suffering and troubles and dampen our spirits. In spite of such unpleasant things, some form of beauty brings happiness and love in our lives. A thing of beauty eliminates the pall of suffering and sadness, which makes us love life.
5. Why is ‘grandeur’ associated with the ‘mighty dead’?
The ‘mighty dead’ were very dominating and powerful people during their own times. They were ‘mighty’ and great because of their achievements. Our eyes are dazzled by their noble works. We imagine that the mighty dead forefathers will achieve grandeur on the doomsday. Therefore, ‘grandeur’ and ‘mighty dead’ are associated with one another.
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