Three of the last four lines use for ever or ever, emphasizing steadfastness in time or eternity, but it is an eternity of love, passion and sensuality. He can now define steadfastness in terms of human life on earth, in the world of love and movement. The paradox is resolved by the end of the poem: This reference continues the religious imagery of Eremite and priestlike. Human is what the poet is and the star is not. Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night! It never sleeps. The alliteration (repetition of M sounds) stresses the connection of these words.
Its separateness contasts with the poet's relationship with his beloved later. Of pure ablution round earth's human shores, A religious cleaning; Hard to say, because, then in the next line, he shifts gears, and starts talking about all the ways in which he doesn't want to be like the star. Joy and fulfillment are to be found here, now; Line 1 Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art-- Unchanging, constant line 2 There is also a lack of motion in these lines. Line 5 The moving waters at their priestlike task The rise and the fall of the tides twice a day are seen as a religiously performed ritual. Awake for ever in a sweet unrest In contrast to the eternal sleeplessness and motionlessness of the star, the poet's not sleeping is active ( awake ). Line 6 Now it seems he doesn't like the idea of spending all eternity in loneliness, watching the chill-inducing spectacle of water flowing endlessly around the earth, and snow falling on barren landscapes. Hm.
So what was up with all that wanting to be a star business? With the poem's shift to earth, there is movement and aliveness, as well as spirituality ( priestlike ). Because the star he's talking about doesn't move, it's likely that Keats means the North Star ( ). He wants to spend all eternity with his head lying on his girlfriend's breast. Even the religious imagery is associated with coldness and aloneness; Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite, Hermit, usually with a religious connotation. Immediately, in line 2, he asserts a negative, not. And lines 2-8 reject qualities of the star's steadfastness. So what does he tell the star? The speaker wants to be like a star in the sense that the star doesn't move, and never changes.
Thus, sailors use it as a point of navigation.
All very interesting, but why is Keats's speaker talking to the star? In the ninth line, we start to get a hint. Orgasm is often compared to a dying (the French term for orgasm is le petit morte, or the small death ). Because of its position as the last word in the poem and because of being an accented syllable, death carries a great deal of weight in the final effect and meaning of the poem.
And if he can't spend all eternity like that, he'd rather die, by swooning. There is a possible ambiguity in the last line; Line 7 Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask The mask is the covering of snow on the ground. Well, he starts off by saying how he wishes he were as stedfast as it is. Weird, huh? Moreover, the star is cut off from the beauties of nature on earth. The North Star, of course, is the one star that doesn't move in the sky, because it is directly above the North Pole. Line 10 Line 11 To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, Fall and swell are also change and movement. Soft intensifies the sensuality introduced with pillow'd. line 12 Line 14 And so live ever--or else swoon to death. Line 4 This snow has pleasing connotations, being new and soft. All the moon can do is gaze. line 8 Above, high over the earth. Keats is pointing out the star's isolation, as well as a positive quality, its splendour. He needs no more. Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast, Movement and change in human life are introduced with ripening, a contrast to the star.
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors- Beauty (the snow) is found in diverse places on earth. Well, in poetry, you can get away with anything. But he wants to take that whole never moving, never changing bit, and put it in a different context. As in so many poems, Keats is grappling with the paradox of the desire for permanence and a world of timelessness and eternity (the star) while living in a world of time and flux. So, basically, he'd like to be like the star, but. The who, what, where, when, and why of all your favorite quotes. Go behind the scenes on all your favorite films. We speak tech 2017 Shmoop University. Once the poet eliminates the non-human qualities of the star, he is left with just the quality of steadfastness. Line 13 Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, Repetition ( still is used 4 times in 5 lines) emphasizes time/timelessness for human beings. Breath is flux, and tender makes it positive. In a swift reversal, the poet accepts the possibilty of dying from pleasure. Swoon has sexual overtones; The speaker in this poem is talking to a star. Emphasizing the star's sleeplessness is part of the characterization of the star's non-humanness, which makes it an impossible goal for a human being to aspire to. Line 9 No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable, The poet turns again to himself; Still has two meanings here: (1) always or ever and (2) motionless. In fact, he is unable to identify even briefly with the star; Now change or flux becomes desireable, sweet unrest, an. Ritual washing. Line 3 And watching, with eternal lids apart, Eyelids. Is Keats saying that even if love doesn't enable him to live forever, he will die content in ecstasy and love? In the first line, the poet expresses his desire for an ideal--to be as steadfast as a star --an ideal which cannot be achieved by a human being in this world of change or flux, as he comes to realize by the end of the poem. The star's isolation is implicit in its watching and in its not participating. Bright star analysis essay.