This essay will discuss a close reading analysis of the poem “The Bright Star”. The Romantic poet John Keats wrote this poem. It is a love sonnet and is believed that it was written for his love and fiance’ Fanny Brawne. Keats writes the poem in iambic pentameter. The poem revolves around Keats love for stars and about nature’s beauty. The whole poem is written with a rhyming scheme except the last two lines possibly to attract the reader’s attention to it. By starting the poem with “Bright Star! ”, Keats introduces the poem with strong imagery and symbolism that projects a clear and precise picture of the bright star.
By adding an exclamation to the line, he stresses the importance of the star and to exhibit the excitement he is feeling. He wishes that he could be as steadfast and consistent as the bright star. In the second line, he writes about the lonely star that is isolated from the rest of the world. Even though he admires the star and wishes to be like it, he doesn’t want to follow this quality of the star. The third line expresses that the star is always awake and shining and that is yet another characteristic he doesn’t wish to imitate. In line four, Keats writes about a “sleepless Eremite” which is another word for hermit.
Comparing eremite to the “moving waters” captures beautiful imagery. This is the first time Keats uses religion in the poem. However, he does use it a few times throughout the poem. The poet uses the poetic device simile in the fifth line by comparing the moving waters to “priestlike task”. This contributes to the fact that John Keats loves and admires the beauty of nature (“moving waters”) as he is comparing it with a religious symbol (“priestlike task”).
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The religiousness was being compared to the star, and now it is being compared to the moving waters. It shows a separation between the sky and the Earth.
With the imagery of “Eremite” and “priestlike tasks” of moving waters, Keats wishes to express that the stars and the nature of water bodies are always twinkling and flowing, basically being immortal, which he cannot accomplish. In line six; Keats uses the word “ablution” which also symbolizes religion. Ablution is a word for religious washing or cleansing and Keats ties it with the sea. All the lines so far in the poem express the profound admiration that Keats has for the skies and the Earth, since he compares them with religious values. Keats brings back the stars and its gazing once again in line seven.
He uses enjambment to create a pause from the stars and waters to transform into other earthly bodies. Keats starts this new stanza by expressing his admiration for mountains and moors and the beautiful snow that accumulates on top of its peak. He tries to create imagery of a wintery and lonely place. Winter has a connotation of seclusion and desolation. One can also find alliteration in mountains and moors, trying to stress his adoration for them. Keats repeats what he expresses in the beginning of the poem again in line eight saying that he wants to be steadfast and “unchangeable” like the star, but not lonely.
This repetition enforces the passion he for the star. He writes about him lying on his lover’s breast and seeking comfort. He mentions “ripening” breast to express that even if the breast is aging, the comfort it produces does not lessen. This can be compared to the star, which also has its comfort and beauty no matter it’s age. Keats ends the poem by saying, “so live ever- or else swoon to death”. He expresses that he would be happy to live with his love and swoon to death or live forever like the star.