Comment on the presentation of Nature in the sonnet ‘On Fame’ by Keats

In the sonnet On Fame, Keats describes the condition of man who is always worried in search of name and fame. Man is mortal and life is short. Life should be for pure joy. As the man is affected by so many worries and anxieties he will lose the pure joy of his life.

To describe the condition of man the poet makes beautiful images from Nature. The rose has its fragrance, as long as it is on its plant. If it cuts itself off from the plant, it loses its sweet smell. The plum has its ripeness and rounded perfection, as long as it is on its tree. If it wants independence from the tree, it has to lose its ripeness. The lake has pure water as long as it is not disturbed by the Naiad. If the water-nymph wants to touch the bottom of the lake, it ends up in muddy water.

The rose flower lives itself upon its thorny plant. It allows the winds to kiss and the bees to get honey. The plum settles itself on its tree. It is very happy to have its ripeness and rounded perfection. The lake has its water as clear as crystal when it is not disturbed by the water nymph. In the same way, a man should not disturb his life with worries in search of name and fame. He spoils his peace of mind. He misses the bliss of life.

The presentation of Nature in the poem reveals the poet’s sense of beauty. The intensity of sensuousness is also present in the description of Nature. The contrast that Keats draws here between the grace of Nature and feverish restlessness of man gives rise to a drama. The imageries which he uses to convey the idea of fullness are very much appropriate.