‘Bright star’ is more about his love for a woman, it is thought to be written to Fanny Brawne, and how he doesn’t want their love to end. Keats seems to know he will die soon when composing this poem, it is supposedly the last poem written before Keats’ death. There is a strong fear of death throughout both poems but they close with terms of acceptance towards life and death. Nature is referred to in both of the poems, the idea of the stars constancy in natures present in ‘Bright Star’ and the idea of harvesting and grain in ‘When I have fears that may cease to be.
‘ Nature is mentioned because it is something that is ever changing over a long period of time. The mutability in nature is somewhat linked to the mutability in Keats’ life as he follows natures course. These poems are about Keats’ self-identity through his fears and loss. Keats changes his mood significantly from each octet to the sestet of the poems due to terms of acceptance. Keats’ finds courage to face his world after his time of struggle and dissatisfaction, which is described throughout the octet. In ‘Bright Star’ Keats is longing for permanence.
The poem describes a steadfast star in comparison to the changes occurring in love and nature. Keats attributes artistic qualities to the star, he longs to be steadfast though not in the same manner as the star because the star is alone and sleepless and the poet wishes to remain constant but experience more than a star is able to. He wants the ability to stay with his beloved and watch over her, like a star watches over the world. He describes being “pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast” Keats is very close to his beloved and desires to stay with her for eternity. The star is a symbol of perfection, which he longs for.
Unfortunately, the two desires he has, to experience love and to be eternal are not mutually inclusive. To love, he must be human, and therefore not an unchanging object like this star he has seen. The octave of the poem concentrates on observing nature while the sestet is his time for admiration. He ultimately forces himself to move on to something better, something beyond the quiet persistence of a dream. He has a harmonious acceptance of nature as the sonnet comes to a close because he forgets his fears of dying and instead accepts life as it is. The stage of acceptance comes from the idea of “swooning to death.
” Death is an alternative to love, if love cannot able him to be immortal he will allow himself to die contently in happiness and love. Death may be the only way in which permanence can be achieved in the mortal world. The mutability of human existence is the main idea portrayed by these two poems. Keats’ fears are expressed throughout the poems as well as his acceptance of life. In “When I have fears” the situation is the acceptance of his poetry and ability to write and in “Bright stars” the situation is the acceptance of the ability to love and remain committed. There is a transition in the poems, from worrying to accepting.
He learns to deal with his frustration shown in personal experiences. Keats becomes aware he is unable to change fate so he finds a way to accept it. The Volta between the octet and sestet is able to show Keats’ change in personality through his thoughts. There are moments in Keats’ life where he finds himself afraid. Confused. The choices he makes in these moments can define the rest of his life. When faced with the unknown most of us want to turn back and in this case Keats is no different. However, he finds a way to move beyond all the heartache and fear of what lies ahead and be himself.