AD's English Literature : John Keats’ Style and Image: The Magic of Verbal Perfection

John Keats’ Style and Image: The Magic of Verbal Perfection



Keats is famous for the magic of verbal perfection and the rounded felicity of expression for the which Arnold gives him a place as high a that of Shakespeare .His motto of an artistic style was to “lead every rift of a subject with ore” He himself said that he looked upon a time phrase as lover looks upon his beloved. His poems are full of such phrases as haunt the imagination by leas on of their aptness and musical quality. In most of Keats’s phases there is a quality which makes unlike Shakespeare’s something fanciful or rather suggestive phrases which display their poesy rather than their meaning. Closely allied to these imaginative phrases are the short vivid pictures he gives us, which are the master-pieces in word-painting and which show clearly his influence on the pre-Raphaelite School of poets. His is the originality as a pictorial artist in his descriptions which appeal mainly to senses. “There is something furnished and firm about these pictures as if they were welded on a metal plate”.

The ‘Ode to Nightingale’ amply shows the magic al felicity of Keats’s style such expressions are “full-throated ease” , “light-winged Dryad of  trees” , “purple-stained mouth”, “leaden-eyed despairs” ,”the murmur haunt of flies” etc show the high water-mark of verbal perfection and of the concretization of imagery . They haunt the imagination by their openness and musical quality. The phrases like “melodious plot”, “verdurous gloom” , “embalmed darkness” , “sun-burnt mirth” , “blushful Hippocrene’ impress the reader more for their poetry than for then meaning . The deep suggestiveness of passage:-                     
                   “Charmed magic casements opening on the foam of perilous seas in fairy loved forlorn” Is unparallel in the whole range of English poetry. As we read it we catch a Nest vista of medieval times with the shadowy enchanters’ castle in a kingdom by the sea, the lonely tower of which encloses on imprisoned princess. The passage is indeed a wonderful example of perfect word painting. About this passage Rossetti says, “It shows a reach of expression which might almost be called the pillions of Hercules of human language. Far greater things have been said greater misob, but no thing perfect in form has been said – no thing wider in scale comes closer in utterance-by any mind of what so ever pitch of granter” .The deception of a beaker of wire with beaded bubbles winking at the brim “is are the instance of Marvell our verbal pictures that fill the poem.
The line “where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs” is a master piece in Word-painting. As we sea  it a vivid picture of bald leaded old man hobbling along trembling and tittering starts up before our vision .

Like the ‘Nightingale ode” , ‘ode to Autumn’ shines the magical felicity of Keats’s style. The expression like “mellow fruitfulness,” “clam any cells” “hair soft lifted” “half seeped furrow”, garden  - gift” , “hilly born”, etc haunt our him agnation  by reason of their Aptness  and picturesque. Such phrases as “maturing sum” “barred clouds”, “winnowing wind”, etc. appeal to us for their poetry rather than for their meaning.The expression “And full-grown lamb lend beat from hilly brown” is a marvell on pastoral beauty. There is Instance of word painting as we sea in the line the picture of the full-grown Lambs lonely beating in their dwelling on the hills flasher across our vision. The line, “And gathering swallows twitter in the skills” is aloe remarkable for the word picture it gives.

The “ode on a Grecian urn” shows the magic al felicity of Keats’s style. It is full of well-chosen phrases, expressions and concrete images-“leaf fringed legend”, “Fair youth beneath the hers” etc. These expressions omelet images effectively stir our imagination like some pictures of the win boarder with ornamental leaf work round the different scenes, the melodist playing on his pipe and the heifer blowing a loud with its neck stretched and turned up towards the sky, flash across our mental eyes. It is in this verbal picture that the poet’s sensuous pleasure becomes spiritualized into joy irradiated with beauty.  

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An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

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