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“Bright Star” by John Keats. Megan McIntyre. Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art- Not in lone splendor hung along aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task

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Presentation Transcript
slide2

Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art-

Not in lone splendor hung along aloft the night

And watching, with eternal lids apart,

Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,

The moving waters at their priestlike task

Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores

Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask

Of snow upon the mountains and the moors-

No- yet still steadfast, still unchangeable

Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,

To feel for ever its soft swell and fall,

Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,

And so live ever- or else swoon to death.

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slide3

Rhyme scheme of a Shakespearean sonnet:

a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g

14 lines in length- no stanzas

10 syllables per line

Speaker of the poem: the poet

Written by John Keats to his

love: Fanny Brawne.

Written in 1819

slide4

Bright star! would I were steadfast

as thou art-

Not in lone splendor hung

along aloft the night

Keats wishes he was as unchanging, as immortal as the star.

Points out the star is isolated, but also so beautiful

slide5

And watching, with eternal lids apart,

Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,

Allusion:

The star watches the Earth unceasingly- never missing a thing. Keats is envious.

er·e·mite/ˈerəˌmīt/

Noun: A Christian hermit or recluse.

Famous Eremite: Gautama Buddha.

Abandoned his family for “spiritual enlightenment” and doing so lead to the founding of Buddhism.

slide6

The moving waters at their priestlike task

Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores

Ablution: the ritual washing of a priest's hands or of sacred vessels

Poem shifts from talking of the star to talking of what the star sees on Earth.

Talks of what the star witnesses: the tide moving twice daily (cleanse of the planet)

slide7

Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask

Of snow upon the mountains and the moors-

The star also views the fresh-fallen snow, the changing of seasons

Alliteration: mountains and moors

Metaphor: soft-fallen mask of snow compares: snow and mask

slide8

No- yet still steadfast, still unchangeable

Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,

But through it all, the star is still unchangeable. Always watching, never doing. Unlike he and his love.

Keats feels almost as immortal as the star when he is with his love- though he is still only a human.

slide9

To feel for ever its soft swell and fall,

Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,

He wouldn’t mind resting his head on his beloved’s chest for all time- it’s the best place for him on Earth.

And to wake in “sweet unrest”. He doesn’t sleep so well, but it doesn’t matter because he was with his love.

Oxymoron:

Sweet unrest

slide10

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,

And so live ever- or else swoon to death.

Listens to her breath as he relaxes.

And he wishes that if he must live on earth, not be the bright star, that he could spend eternity with his head on Fanny’s chest: or else he will die.

“Still, still”: two meanings

Repeating it twice to prove a point

OR

Play on words to say he is still motionless.