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Beauty Is Truth, Truth Beauty

English Essay on "Beauty Is Truth, Truth Beauty, That Is All Ye Know On Earth and All Ye Need To Know"

Outline : Keats, a Romantic poet and true lover of beauty - Keats having the deep philosophy of beauty - His concept of eternal and indestructible beauty - The relationship of beauty and truth - Beauty, the highest spiritual and religious principle - The concept of reality in beauty - The greatness of Keats - Spiritual and intellectual beauty.

In his famous ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ Keats had philosophically declared:

Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty that is all,
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Keats was a true lover and devoted worshipper of beauty. He had a passionate love for beauty. He was in reality a romantic poet who expressed his intense feelings regarding the outward elements of beauty in all its glory. Keats had only one religion, the religion which preached devotion towards beauty. ‘Religion for him takes a definite shape at an early date in the adoration of the beautiful. But his adoration, he elaborates into a doctrine; beauty is the supreme truth, it is imagination that discovers it, and scientific reasoning is an altogether inferior instrument of knowledge. This idealism easily assumes a knot of mysticism. “he believed in beauty as the highest faith of a worshipper.

Keats once said “I have loved the principles of beauty in all tastes”. According to him a thing of beauty was not a momentary or transitory joy but it was a perennial joy or an immortal joy which never ends. His only ambition in life was to worship beauty in its true form. He enunciates his creed of beauty when he says:

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness: nereases; it will never
Pas into nothingness

To Keats all objects of nature were beautiful because of their inherent magic of colour, sound and touch. He saw beauty everywhere in every object of nature. Once he wrote to his beloved Fannie Browne, that his only mission in life was “to lie prostrate at your feet as you are the goddess of beauty”. He considered every thing to be capable of admiration. Keats had a simple direct passion for the natural beauty just for its own sake. He was highly enchanted by the beauty of the forest, the field, flower, the sky and the sea. He saw the real and true spirit of beauty, a spirit that was heavenly in its magnificence and splendour. Intense love of all form of natural beauty inspired Keats the sight of a flower, the glitter of sun, the chirping of the birds and the dance of the flowers. In a way we can say Keats saw God in its heavenly splendour in the shrine of beauty. Beauty was for him an exalted principle, a suit me philosophy, true religion and a devotional prayer, which “Hath the power to sublimate man’s entire spiritual self”.

Keats had a very deep philosophy of beauty. Keats loved the principle of beauty and perceived the essential relationship between beauty and truth and of both with joy. According to Clarance Dorbe “Keats” conception of beauty was on higher plane than has been commonly supposed. To him beauty is the subjective reaction to a glimpse beyond the veil.” According to Keats “that which is beautiful in every sense of the term will be found to be synonymous with truth: and truth however, ugly it may seem at thirst, or to some persons, will be ultimately found to be beautiful.” For the human beings beauty and truth are one and the same thing, they should see things in their beauty and try to interpret these things inspired by heavenly beauty in terms of truth.

Keats had a concept of eternal and indestructible beauty. Beauty and truth according to him are the two supreme characteristics of God. Keats lived a unique life worshipping the concept of beauty like a sincere and faithful devotee. He fully devoted himself to express the deepest ideas of his own heart and to narrate the splendour and fineness of the elements of nature he felt them. Keats remained aloof from the ideas preached by his contemporaries. His passion of attachment for beauty was simple natural and childlike. It was an intense passion for beauty in its simplest and natural environment of love of beauty for its own sake. He sought and searched beauty everywhere in the forests, in the flowers, in the mountains, in the sky and in nature. It was only in the field of nature that he was in his happiest mood, where he saw the blooming flowers, heard humming of the bees and watched the glory of the shining sun.

He revealed in divine joy to watch the beauty around him. According to Keats beauty when integrated with truth produced eternal and immortal joy. Thus beauty produces a kind of happiness which is not transitory but is unending and imperishable. Keats did not go after the transient and perishable objects of beauty, because he believed that outward beauty is only an illusion and a mirage. He wanted to propagate the true spirit of beauty through the above quotation which is not material in its message but which creates an unlimited and imperishable divine happiness in the mind of man.

In this way inspire of the fact that a flower may wither away, its bloom and fragrance may finish but the everlasting and immortal imprint of the stale of beauty of the flower lives for all times to come and will continue to inspire man’s heart with an eternal happiness-a happiness that neither peaces nor finishes, nor reduces with the passage of time. Thus Keats conceived beauty as the highest spiritual and religious principle which could make man’s life immortal on this plane. Keats found in beauty a divine spot, a divine light, and a religious philosophy which had the capability of purifying the heart and the mind of man. His idea of beauty was different from the idea of common man in the street. For a common man beauty is only an object of sensual pleasure and a pastime, whereas for Keats beauty was a lifelong pursuit, mission and the worship of deity.

In reality there is one more aspect regarding the idea of beauty which can be called the philosopher’s concept of beauty. This is an idea of permanent beauty which creates eternal happiness in the heart and soul of philosophers. The great masters of knowledge, poets, and artists have always preached this eternal concept of beauty by which one can dwell on the idea of beauty irrespective of the existence of physical or material beauty. Great philosophers of Greece like Socrates and Plato had conceived the idea of beauty did not reside in the materialistic objects but it lived in the ideas. Similarly, Allama Iqbal, Kalidas, Shakespeare and Milton etc had also developed this intellectual idea of eternal beauty. The teachings of great personalities like Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), Lord Christ, Guru Nanak, Lord Buddha and Quaide-Azam have also embodied a higher kind of noble and sublime beauty which was both spiritual and moral. For Keats also beauty was the highest source of philosophical and divine inspiration.

The greatness of Keats as an intellectual and romantic is based upon his idealistic concept of beauty which he believed and preached. According to Keats truth simply is not the opposite of untruth and falsehood. But truth had the sublime, exalted, spiritual and ethical connotation. Truth means the ultimate reality in this world, the highest quality of soul, heart and the mind which great philosophers like Socrates and Plato searched throughout their life. According to Keats truth is the supreme and ultimate essence of everything. It is the spirit and essence of this universe. In a way we can compare his idea of truth and beauty with the idea of truth and God of lqbal. We can compare it with the concept of virtue and knowledge of Socrates which ultimately means that these are the qualities of the universal spirit, the Supreme Being.

For Keats the spiritual and the intellectual beauty is only the essence of the ultimate and highest truth, in the same way as for Socrates and Plato the reality resided only in ideas and the highest virtue was acquiring the Divine beauty and worshipped the same. He found his beloved Fannie Brown as the symbol of the divine beauty. Once he wrote to her “in your eyes I found the deepest well of beauty which is neither human nor physical it is a picture of the perfection of the Beauty, an angelic Beauty”. Thus we can have a glimpse of divine life, if we synthesis the highest principles of beauty and truth with God. In this way Keats has given to humanity a romantic and human philosophy of life which is the demand of mankind at the moment. If people sincerely follow his philosophy, they can fill their lives with joy and happiness. This can also remove many miseries and worries from the life of man. Man can then realize Him through the worship of elements of nature and beauty which are nothing but the symbols of the ultimate Truth.

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