John Keats was a pure poet. He did poetry for the sake of poetry only. He was not a reformer; therefore, the influence of his poetry on the minds of readers is not social or moral. Keats did not write on social aspects of society even at that time when other writers and poets of that era were writing about the revolutions. Some tried to reform society through satire and some gave examples of the French Revolution, but John Keats kept himself away from every social issue.
Any prudent and sensitive mind can enjoy the poetry of John Keats as it keeps the mental thoughts in a place where they must be. Keats may not have had enough mature mind to write an epic like “Paradise Lost” but at a very young age, he wrote poetry, which is incredible. There is no rival to John Keats in his style, thoughts, sensuousness, sensitiveness, escapism, classicism and romanticism. It is because of these balanced elements he is regarded as one of the best romantic poets.
Romantic Poetry is always Pure
Indeed, Keats is a romantic poet. Although, every romantic has a social significance yet Keats is different from them in this regard. If he is romantic then he is definitely an escapist. In fact, Keats is the most romantic poet because he is the most escapist of them all. He wants to flee from this cruel world. Romantic poetry is the poetry of imagination and dreams. Keats finds pleasure in escaping from the harsh realities of life. He finds peace in escapism.
In addition, he enjoys the beautiful voice of a nightingale and thinks that it is immortal, unlike humans. He is afraid that “youth grows pale and spectre thin, and dies”, therefore, there is a strange pleasure in escapism. Keats does not expect a better world and the only solution, according to him is to go away from it. Literature has universality in it and everyone expects escapism from this hard life, which can only be found in Keats’s poetry. Hence, defensibly, Keats’s poetry puts man’s mind exactly where it should be.
Pure Poetry Promotes Imagination
Old memories are gold for most people. John Keats is a lover of the past and as an escapist, when he escapes, he goes into the past. Present is not suitable for him, therefore, he writes on Greek sculptures and medieval concepts. He does not write about the current problems of the world. As discussed above, he is a pure poet and writes poetry for the purpose of poetry. Some of the poems of John Keats have classical themes like Endymion, Hyperion and Lamia and some poems like Eve of St Agnes, Isabella and La Belle Dame Sans Merci are based on medieval themes. His poetry is full of Greek as well as medieval splendour and glory. Thus, he is a lover of the past and finds consolation in it.
Pure Poetry Stimulates Nature
Nature is an important element in everyone’s life. Besides a pure poet, John Keats is also called a poet of nature. No one can find peace elsewhere than nature. Nature has a direct connection with the mode and attitude of humans. Keats’s poetry praises nature and its existence. The fundamental part of every poem by John Keats’ is to admire nature. He imitates nature in the sense that it becomes charming. In addition, he has a love for beauty and it is the most striking element of Keats’s poetry.
Keats is of the opinion that truth is beauty and beauty is truth. When he pursues beauty, he forgets everything even the world around him. While praising the beauty of the earth, he finds something new with every new day. When he comes to the clouds, he commends his vastness. Similarly, when he mimics nature, he symbolizes it for romance. Thus, it is also a factor of Keats’s poetry, which balances the mind of a man and enchants it.
Keats’s Poetry Lacks Morality
Being a pure poet, John Keats is a clean versifier. No social problem can be found in his poetry nor is any satire available in it. He is not among those writers/poets who try to balance art and social life. Keats is not a moralist. He is not a reformer. He is an artist and then a pure poet. Keats finds delight in writing poetry and he is successful in achieving his objective though he lived a very short life. He is not a moralist, reformer or teacher but it does not make him inferior to other poets.
The command of poetic verses, their richness, their classicism and coloured romanticism prefer John Keats to other poets of his era. There is always a different place for Keats’s poetry in every era. It is because of his poetic perfection, he is discussed and debated everywhere. No one can surpass Keats when it comes to poetic excellence.
The purpose of the above debate is to prove that Keats was not a teacher, who taught or gave lessons to the people. His poetry has pleasure for them, who are sensitive like John Keats. A mind, that prefers art, always finds its place in Keats’s poetry. No doubt, social problems are discussed by many writers and it is also the duty of the writer to satirize the stupidities of people but not necessarily it is vital for every writer or poet. Keats’s poetry calms the mind and gives peace to the soul. Keats himself says
“Poetry should be great and unobtrusive—a thing which enters into one’s soul and does not startle it.”
Keats often says that the poet must not live for himself, but must feel for others, and must do good but he must do so by being a poet—not by being a teacher or a moralist. He further states:-
“If a sparrow comes before my window, I take part in its existence and pick about the gravel—a poet has no identity. He is continually in, for and filling some other body.”
Johns Keats lived and did poetry for everyone. He did it for the soul, mind, peace, pleasure, purification, sensitive spirits, and the people who pursue beauty. There is no flaw in saying that he puts a mind in its proper place; exactly on a delicate balance.