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Bright Star, Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art by John Keats


"Bright Star, Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art" by John Keats is written about his love of Fanny Brawne. It is considered one of his most lovely and paradoxical writings. It is about wishing to be eternal yet still be in love with Miss Brawne. However, to be in love he must be human and humans are not eternal.

This poem is written as only one stanza, but it contains fourteen lines. The stanza contains the rhyme scheme ABABCDCDEFEGG called an Elizabethan sonnet. Notice how line ten doesn't rhyme with others? Sometimes poets, like Keats, use a single unrhymed line to put emphasis on a specific word. In this case, that word is "breast".


Bright Star, Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art
Not in lone splendour hung 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,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever or else swoon to death.

Next: Happy is England! I Could Be Content
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Literary Movement
Romanticism, 18th Century

Sonnet, Love, Relationship

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