A thing of beauty

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a thing of beauty

A Thing of Beauty is a joy forever – This has been reiterated throughout the poem through poetic devices. It is followed by question answers and mcqs. This poem is taken from the poem by the renowned author John Keats, “Endymion-a poetic romance.” The poet claims that a beautiful thing is a source of everlasting pleasure. It has infinite beauty that never fades away. A beautiful thing is like a shady shelter that gives us a sleep full of sweet dreams, good health and comfort.

Summary – A thing of beauty

Our connection to earthly objects is like a wreath of roses. They are traps which bind us to the materialistic objects and takes us away from eternal happiness. The world is full of hate, envy, and negativity. The doom and sorrow caused by this negativity, according to the author, melts away with the optimistic vibes of the lovely things around us.

Wreath of roses

The poet lists some of the lovely things surrounding us. He says that God’s numerous creations, such as the sun that gives us energy, the beauty of the moon, the trees that give us shade, are the natural beauties around us. The different animals, such as the sheep surrounding us, make our world lively. Beautiful flowers such as daffodils make the world green and vibrant. In the hot summer season, the flowing streams of water cool and refresh us.

Poetic devices – A thing of beauty

Paragraph 1

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.

  • Rhyme scheme: aabbc (forever, never, keep, sleep, breathing)
  • Alliteration: Use of consonant sound at the start of two words which are close in series (Sleep-Sweet)
  • Metaphor: bower Quiet (calmness of the bower is compared to the calming effect of a beautiful thing)

Paragraph 2

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.

  • Anaphora: Use of same word in two consecutive lines (of noble natures- Of all the unhealthy)
  • Alliteration: Use of consonant sound at the start of two words which are close in series (‘b’ in Band Bind, ‘n’ in Noble nature, ‘s’ in some shape).    
  • Metaphor: wreathing a flowery band (the beautiful things of our life bind us to the earth)       
  • Imagery: creating a sensory effect of beautiful things lined up in a string ( A flowery band to bind us)
  • Inversion: normal order of words is reversed ( Are we wreathing a flowery band)

Paragraph 3

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

  • Alliteration: Use of consonant sound at the start of two words which are close in series (‘s’ in Sprouting Shady, Simple sheep, ‘c’ in cooling covert)
  • Imagery: Trees giving shade (sprouting shady boon), growing process of daffodils (daffodils with the green world they live in), Clean river streams (Clear rills)
  • Antithesis: opposite words placed together (old and young)

Paragraph 4

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

  • Alliteration: Use of consonant sound at the start of two words which are close in series (‘h’ in have heard)
  • Metaphor: Immortal drinks ( beautiful objects of nature are forever like a neverending portion of a drink)
  • Rhyme: Rhyme scheme is used in every stanza of the poem (forever; never, keep; sleep, dead; read etc.)
  • Imagery: Bushes full of musk roses (sprinkling of fair musk rose blooms), books describing valor of fighters (grandeur-..mighty dead), god providing us with best things (pouring from the heaven’s brink)
A thing of beauty
A thing of beauty

Questions and Answers – A thing of beauty

Q1. List the things of beauty mentioned in the poem.
Answer: Every part of nature is a thing of beauty and a source of pleasure. Some of them are: the sun, the moon, old and young trees, daffodil flowers, small streams with clear water, mass of ferns and the blooming musk-roses. All of them are things of beauty which are a constant source of joy and pleasure.

Q2. List the things that cause suffering and pain.
Answer: There are many things that cause us suffering and pain. Malice and disappointment are the biggest source of our suffering. Another one is the lack of noble qualities. Our unhealthy and evil ways also give birth to so many troubles and sufferings. They dampen our spirits and act as a pall of sadness on our lives.

Q3. What does the line, ‘Therefore are we wreathing a flowery band to bind us to earth’ suggest to you?
Answer: Keats is a lover of beauty. He employs his senses to discover beauty. The link of man with nature is eternal. The things of beauty are like wreaths of beautiful flowers. We seem to weave a flowery band everyday. It keeps us attached to the beauties of this earth.

Short answers – A thing of beauty

Q4. What makes human beings love life in spite of troubles and sufferings?
Answer: There are many things that bring us troubles and sufferings. They dampen our spirits. However, ‘some shape of beauty1 brings love and happiness in our lives in spite of such unpleasant things. A thing of beauty removes the pall of sadness and sufferings. It makes us love life.

Also Read : My Mother At Sixty-six

Q5. Why is ‘grandeur’ associated with the ‘mighty dead’?
Answer: The mighty dead were very powerful and dominating persons during their own times. Their achievements made them ‘mighty’ and great. Their noble works dazzle our eyes. We imagine that such mighty dead forefathers will attain more grandeur on the doomsday. Hence ‘grandeur’ is associated with the ‘mighty dead’.

Q6. Do we experience things of beauty only for short moments or do they make a lasting impression on us?
Answer: We feel happy by coming into contact with things of beauty. They make a lasting impression on us. Keats makes it clear at the outset. A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Therefore this is a constant source of joy and pleasure. Its beauty never declines or diminishes and its loveliness goes on increasing every moment. Thus, its value remains undiminished. It never passes into nothingness and hence removes the pall of sadness that covers our dark spirits.

Q7, What image does the poet use to describe the beautiful bounty of the earth?
Answer: John Keats uses a very beautiful image to describe the beautiful bounty of the earth. It is the endless fountain of immortal drink. It pours constantly into our hearts from heaven. Thus, the beautiful bounty of the earth is called “an endless fountain of immortal drink.”

Read the stanzas and answer the questions


1. 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.

Questions
(a)Name the poem and the poet of these lines.
(b)How is a thing of beauty a joy for ever ?
(c)What do you understand by a ‘bower’l
(d)What kind of sleep does it provide?


Answers:
(а)The poem is A Thing of Beauty. The poet is John Keats.
(b)A thing of beauty is the source of constant joy. Its beauty goes on increasing. It will never pass into nothingness.
(c)A bower is a pleasant place in the shade under a tree. It protects persons/animals from the hot rays of the sun.
(d)It provides us a sound sleep, full of sweet dreams, health and peaceful breathing.

2. 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,


Questions [All India 2014]
(a)Name the poem and the poet.
(b)Why are we despondent?
(c)What removes the pall from our dark spirits?
(d) What are we doing every day?

Answers:
(а)The poet is John Keats. The poem is A Thing of Beauty.
(b)We possess the evil qualities of malice and disappointment. We suffer from the lack of noble qualities. That is why we feel despondent.
(c) Some beautiful shapes or a thing of beauty removes the pall of sadness from our hearts or spirits.
(d) We are weaving a flowery wreath to bind us to the beauties of the earth.

Read the stanzas and answer the questions

3. 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;


Questions
(а)What removes the pall from our dark spirits?
(b)What sprouts a shady boon for sheep and how?
(c) How do ‘daffodils’ and ‘rills’ enrich the environment?
(d) What makes the mid-forest brake rich?

Answers:
(a)Some beautiful shape or a thing of beauty removes the pall of sadness from our hearts or spirits.
(b)Old and young trees sprout to make a green covering. It proves a blessing for simple sheep as it serves them as a shelter.
(c)Daffodils bloom among the green surroundings. The rills or small streams of clear water make a cooling shelter for themselves against the hot season.
(d)The mid forest brake is made rich by the blooming of beautiful musk-roses.
(e)(i) pall, (ii) boon, (iii) rills, (iv) covert.

4. And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
lovely tales that we have heard or read;
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink


Questions [Delhi 2014]
(a)Name the poem and the poet of these lines.
(b)Explain: ‘the grandeur of the dooms’.
(c)What is the thing of beauty mentioned in these lines’?
(d)What image does the poet use in these lines?


Answers:
(а)The poem is A Thing of Beauty. The poet is John Keats.
(b)The magnificence that we imagine for our mighty dead forefathers on the dooms day.
(c)The lovely tales of mighty men are mentioned in these lines.
(d)The poet uses the image of ‘an endless fountain of immortal drink’ to describe the beautiful bounty of the earth. The earth has bestowed us with sun, moon, flowers, rivers, greenery etc.

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