WHEN I HAVE FEARS
CRITICAL APPRECIATION OF THE POEM
Do you find any element hopefulness in this poem?
This poem exists the feelings of despair and hope about the future of human civilization. Do you agree?
The poetry of Keats is remarkable for its love of Nature, imagination and rich description. The theme of pain, death, and beauty are also found in abundance in his poems. This sonnet is about death. He wrote this sonnet at the beginning of 1818 when he was only 23 years old. Three yeas later, he died, in a way, the sonnet proved prophetic. Keats also knew that he could not live very long because he had consumption in his family.
In this sonnet we are told that the (data copied from vusolutions.com) poet is haunted by a fear of imminent death. He developed a sense of despair at it. He has lot of things to write about. His brain is teeming with ideas and imaginations and he wants to covey them to people through his poetry. The poet believes that he has capacity to become a great poet. He is filled with fear to think that he might be snatched away by death before he becomes great and records his ideas.
The poet is highly afraid of death. He is an artist with rich imaginations. In case of his early death, the world will be deprived of many lofty and grand themes he wants to write in his poem. He looks at the star. The shapes of the clouds suggest to the poet’s rich fancy themes for romantic poems. The poet is afraid lest he should die before he interprets the mystery and the wonder of these cloud symbols. The poet is worried that in case of his early death, he will be deprived of fame, which he rightly deserves.
In the last part of the sonnet, he turns to his fair love lady. He is actively pained to think that with his death, he will be permanently separated from her. Never again, he will deprive the joy of the passionate and heavenly love.
The poet feels very unhappy at the fear of his early death. He apprehends that an early death might rob him of his poetic fame and love. These top things love and fame seem to him (data copied from vusolutions.com) to be fine gifts that life can bestow upon him. He imagines standing on the shore of the world and is likely to be swept away be the waves of the ocean of eternity. He is only a tiny particle. This makes him realize the futility and unimportance of earthly ambitions. Love and fame which he so much aspires to gain in life appear to him to be totally meaningless.
It is remarkable that the poet never mentions the word, death in the sonnet. The phrase ‘cease to be’ is far more effective in it suggestion of death. The image of harvest is typically Keastian and original. The pen is compared to ‘the harvest sticks’ and the thoughts of the brain to the ‘full ripened gain’ laden with grain sheaves. It is a fanciful image and suggestive of Keats’ love for nature.
Two of the Keats favorite themes are touched in this poem is love and beauty. Discuss.
This poem is beautiful sonnet on death by Keats. The poet is afraid of his early and premature death. His brain is teeming with mature and romantic thoughts. But his early death is (data copied from vusolutions.com) likely to deprive him of presenting his ideas to the world. The poem also deals with the theme of love and beauty. Both love and beauty are the favorite themes of Keats’ poetry. Both the themes have been presented in many of his other poems like ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’, Ode to Nightingale’ and ‘Endymion’.
Here both the themes have been touched with an autobiographic touch. The poet was madly in love with a beautiful girl Fanny Brawn but she did not properly appreciate his feelings and sentiments. This unsuccessful love broke his heart.
The poet addresses his beloved and calls her a fair creature of an hour. He believes that her beauty and youth are temporary things. He calls that her death will not let her enjoy the pleasure of looking on her charming face. According to the poet, Love and Beauty are quite short lived and temporary when views them standing on the shore of eternity. The poet feels greatly consoled when he finds himself entering into the world of eternity after his death. He feels that beauty and love lose their importance when he will start his journey to the eternal world.
- 1. Do you find any autobiographical elements in this poem?
- 2. This poem is full of gloom and sadness. How?
Quotations and references for this poem
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Modern English Essays
The Old Man & The Sea
One Act Plays
Anthology of English Poetry
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