John Keats, the youngest romantic poet, in his lyrical sonnet On Fame shows a comparison between the grace of nature and the ‘feverish’ condition of man.
Man in this world hankers after name and fame. He is mad in his pursuit of worldly recognition. That is why he always feels restless and agitated. But his vigorous attempt to earn name and fame ultimately becomes vain and futile. Man’s life on this earth is short. Because of his worries in mind, he cannot enjoy his blissful existence. He cannot ‘drink life to the lees’. He is deprived of the peace and tranquility of mind and cannot enjoy the spontaneous flow of joy in life.
The poet takes up sensuous imageries from nature to describe the agitated and feverish condition of man. Side by side, the poet explains that everything in nature is calm and quiet. Everything in nature attains maturity through a gradual natural process, not through a self-designed hectic process full of unrest.
In the concluding lines, therefore, the poet warns man not to worry so much for name and fame. The poet thinks that it is foolishness on the part of man to tease the world’s grace and to spoil his own redemption. They should remain in a state of peace and tranquility amidst all worries failing which the charm of life will be lost. The poet desires that man shall follow this warning for the bliss of life.
The poem On Fame by Keats, thus, explain the poet’s attitude to fame. So the title of the poem seems to be most apt and appropriate.