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Keats's 'Ode to a Nightingale' bears ample testimony to his romantic sensuousness & the pictorial quality of his poetry. Take, for example, the lines in which the poet expresses his intense desire for 'a beaker full of the warm South' as a mode of escape into the beautiful world of the bird's song. Phrases like 'blushful Hippocrene', 'beaded bubbles winking at the brim' & 'purple-stained mouth' evidently suggest the colourful & sensuous evocativeness of Keats's poetic art.
As and when the poet enters the dim dark forests accompanying the nightingale, we find images of nature rich in the typically Keatsian flavour of romantic sensuousness. The nocturnal darkness is called 'verdurous gloom', the darkness of the forest being given a greenish tinge. As the poet imagines to have a journey across the forest, he fancies moonlight filtering through the foliage; the moon shining in the sky clustered around by the stars is mythologised as the 'Queen Moon with all her starry fays'. The poet can not see anything inside the dark forest, but his sense of smell can help him envision the flowers at his feet--the white hawthorns, the musk-rose, the violets, and the eglantines. Perhaps the most wonderful example of Keats's sensuous depiction of nature is the phrase, 'embalmed darkness', an image that combines the visual with the olfactory: the darkness of the nightingale's forest-haunt made fragrant with the smells of the flowers is compared to the fragrant interior of the grave. Keats's sensuous imagery of nature thus often transcends the sensational to migrate to philosophical thought.
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