28 Jan 2022

Keats' Sensuousness MA English Punjab University


Is Keats a sensuous poet?

Keats Sensuousness

Keats is a mystic of senses. His poetry is sensuous. The type of poetry which has a quality to appeal the senses is called sensuous poetry. It activates the five senses of a reader. This type of poetry appeals to the five senses: sense of taste, smell, touch, hearing and visual. Sensuous poetry also meant, a poetry which is not devoted to an idea or a philosophical thought. Sensuous poetry provides pleasure to the penta-senses. The reader sees a clear picture through the word image created by the poet, hears the musical impacts, smells the odour of flowers, and tastes the epicurean images.

Milton says poetry should be ‘simple, sensuous and passionate’. Keats poetry fulfills all the standards. He uses simple diction, similes and metaphors. Sensuousness has become a landmark of his poetry. His poetry is passionate, full of feelings and emotions. William Wordsworth is also sensuous, he writes about the symbol of nature. S.T Coleridge uses supernatural elements in his poetry. Keats is a lover and admirer of beauty. For him ‘Beauty is truth and truth beauty.

                     “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

Keats is a master of imagery. Images used by him are concrete and tangible. He never lives in the world of abstractions. He uses concrete and tangible images and pictorials which appeal to one of our senses or the other. Each line and verse of his poetry gives pleasure the reader. His poetry is a picture gallery printed on a cinematic reel. These are full of many cinematic scenes which appeal to the senses.

Sense of Hearing

In Ode on a Nightingale, we hear the songs of nightingale. These songs allure the ears. The poet with the help of these songs escapes from the world of realty to the world of nightingale. These songs were heard by ancient clowns and emperors. Ode on A Grecian Urn says,

“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

   Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on.”

Sense of Sight


Ode on a Grecian Urn has many images that appeal to the sight. When reader goes through this ode, he visualizes many objects belonging to ancient Greek.

   “O Attice shape! Fair Attitude! With brede,

Of marble men and maidens overwrought

     With forest branches and trodden weed.”


Sense of Taste


Keats implies images which appeal to sense of taste. The images used by him are very sweet and epicurean. When an average reader go through his poem, he feels that his tasting buds are tasting the ‘Taste of Flora’ as if he were sipping a draught of vintage with purple stained mouthed.

“O for a draught of vintage! That hath been

     Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth.


Sense of Smell


In Ode to Autumn, reader smells the faded colours of autumnal flowers, the cold and icy evenings and the smell of ripen grapes, apples and gourd.

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

     Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun.”


Sense of Touch


There is a sense of touch when the poet says in Ode on A Grecian Urn

“What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape”


Summing up the discussion we can say that Keats is a master of imagery. He is more sensuous than all the romantic poets. His poetry appeals to the penat-senses of the reader.



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