Friday, March 11, 2016

Class XII - English Core - Flamingo - POEM 4 - A Thing of Beauty

English Notes for Class XII - English Core - Flamingo - POEM 4 - A Thing of Beauty

Poem Text
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still 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.


This poem is an excerpt from a longer poem titled as Endymion written by famous English poet John Keats. In the poem Keats talks about the concept of beauty, its immortality and how it is embedded in nature. The opening lines set the mood of the poem by firmly stating that "A thing of beauty is joy forever." He rightly states that the objects of beauty are lying all around us- the sun, the moon, trees, musk rose and daffodils.
In his definition of beauty he includes things that are produced by human beings like art, poetry and mythological stories.
He opines that the world is suffering because it has gone away from Nature. If we return to nature and appreciate the beauty around us, may be there is less violence and the world is a better place to live in.


  1. How is a thing of beauty a joy for ever?
    A thing of beauty is a source of constant joy. Its beauty goes on increasing and it will never pass into nothingness.
  2. What kind of sleep does it provide ?
    It provides a sound sleep, full of sweet dreams, health and peaceful breathing.
  3. What are we doing every day ?
    We are weaving a flowery wreath to bind us to the beauties of this earth.
  4. Describe bad and evil things that we possess in us.
    We suffer from disappointment, lack of noble qualities and unhealthy and evil ways.
  5. What removes the pall from our dark spirits and how ?
    Some beautiful shape or a thing of beauty removes the pall of sadness from our " hearts or spirits.
  6. What sprouts a shady boon for sheep and how ?
    Trees old and young sprout to make a green covering. It becomes a shelter for simple sheep and proves a blessing for them.
  7. Describe the role of daffodils and clear rills in enriching the environment.

    Daffodils bloom among the green surroundings. The small streams (rills) with clear water make a cooling shelter for themselves against the hot season.
  8. What is lovelier than all lovely tales we have heard or read ?
    The beauty of daffodils, rills and musk-roses is more enchanting than all lovely sto­ries that we have heard or read.
  9. What is the source of 'the endless fountain of immortal drink' ?
    An endless fountain of nectar that makes us immortal pours into us the heavenly bliss of nature.
  10. What is the effect of that 'immortal drink' on us ?
    That immortal drink that nature's endless fountain pours into our hearts is a source of immense joy for us.

  1. List the things of beauty mentioned in the poem.
    Every little or big thing of nature is a thing of beauty and a source of pleasure. The sun, the moon, trees old and young and daffodil flowers are all things of beauty. So are small streams with clear water, mass of ferns and the blooming musk-roses. They are constant sources of joy and pleasure.
  2. List the things that cause suffering and pain.
    There are many things that cause human suffering and pain. The biggest source of suffering is our malice and disappointment. The lack of noble qualities is another. Our unhealthy and evil ways also give birth to so many troubles and sufferings. They depress our spirits. They are like a pall of sadness over our lives.
  3. What does the line, 'Therefore are we wreathing a flowery band to bind us to earth', suggest to you ?(Imp.)
    John Keats is a sensuous poet. He is firmly attached to the endless beauty of the earth. The link of man with nature is constant and unbroken. The things of beauty are like wreaths of beautiful flowers. We seem to wreathe a flowery band that keeps us attached to the beauties of this earth.
  4. What makes human beings love life in spite of troubles and sufferings ? (Imp.)
    So many things bring troubles and sufferings. They depress our spirits. But 'some shape of beauty' brings love and happiness in spite of such unpleasant things. A thing of beauty removes away the pall of sadness and sufferings from our lives. It makes human beings love.
  5. Why is 'grandeur' associated with the 'mighty dead' ? (Imp.)
    The mighty dead were the people who were powerful and dominating in their own times. Their achievements made them 'mighty' and great. Their works dazzle our eyes. We imagine that such mighty dead forefathers will attain more grandeur at the doomsday. They will be rewarded. Hence grandeur is associated with the 'mighty dead'.
  6. Do we experience things of beauty only for short moments or do they make a lasting impression on us ? (Imp.).
    John Keats makes it clear in the very first line of this excerpt that 'a thing of beauty is a joy forever'. It is a constant source of joy. Nor does its beauty decrease. Its loveliness goes on increasing every moment. Its value remains undiminished. It never passes into nothingness. It always removes the pall of sadness that covers our dark spirits.
  7. What image does the poet use to describe the beautiful bounty of the earth ?
    John Keats uses various images to describe the beautiful bounty of the earth. The bounty of the earth is like an endless fountain. This endless fountain of immortal drink constantly pours from the heaven into our hearts.


  1. How is a thing of beauty a joy forever ? (Imp.)
    John Keats, a great Romantic poet, considers that a thing of beauty is a joy forever. It is a constant source of happiness and pleasure. Its loveliness increases every moment. A thing of beauty is never devalued. It never passes into nothingness.
  2. How does a thing of beauty keep a bower quiet for us?
    Keats is rich in sensuous imagery. Nature provides us with things of rare beauty. A pleasant place in the shade under a tree provides us a quiet bower. Similarly, a thing of beauty transports us to peace and security. We enjoy a sleep full of dreams, health and peace.
  3. How do we bind us to the earth every morning? (Imp.)
    Like all Romantic poets, Keats stresses the unbreakable bond of man with nature and the earth. The beauties of the earth fascinate man. Every object of nature is a source of beauty and happiness. Every day we are weaving a wreath through these beautiful things. This flowery band binds us with the earth.
  4. What are the things that give sufferings and sadness to man?
    Man, himself, is the root cause of his woes. We suffer from malice and distress. Unfortunately, we lack human qualities and it makes us inhuman. Our life becomes gloomy. We cultivate unhealthy and evil ways. All such things bring misery and sufferings to men.
  5. What makes human beings love life in spite of troubles and sufferings ?(CBSE2008)
    In spite of all troubles and sufferings human beings love life. The beauties and blessings of nature move away the 'pall' from our 'dark spirits'. Such things of beauty are joys forever.
  6. How is the pall of despondence moved away from our dark spirits ? (Imp.)
    Man makes his life miserable by his own nature and actions. He faces miseries and pains. Amid these miseries and sufferings, a thing of beauty provides a hope to man. Some shape of beauty works wonders. It removes the pall of despondence and sadness from our 'dark spirits'.
  7. Name the things of nature that are constant sources of beauty.
    The beauties of nature are endless. The sun, the moon, trees old and young, beautiful daffodil flowers, green surroundings are some of such beautiful things. Similarly, small streams of clear water, green ferns and thickets of the forest and musk-roses are some other things of beauty. All such things of beauty are a constant source of joy for us.
  8. Why does Keats associate 'grandeur' with 'the mighty dead'? (A.I. CBSE 2008)
    The 'mighty dead' were people of great power, authority and grandeur. They were wealthy, brave and awesome people. They are dead in their grave but still reflect that gran­deur and glory.

  9. What is the source of the 'endless fountain' and what is its effect ?
    The beauties of nature know no limits. Nature is an eternal source of joy to mankind. A fountain of eternal joy and immortality pours into the heart and soul of man. It flows and pours right from the heaven's brink.
  10. What is the message that John Keats wants to give through 'A thing of Beauty' ?
    The very first line of the poem conveys the message of the poet. John Keats was a worshipper of beauty. A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Beauty never fades. Nor is it devalued. It never passes into nothingness. A thing of beauty removes away the pall of sadness and sorrows and gives us joy and pleasure.

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