Keats’ fame rests due to his ardent worship of Beauty in his delicately marvelous Odes.
Adoration of Beauty was like religion for Keats: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,-that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” (Ode on a Grecian Urn). He affirms his faith in Beauty in the following immortal lines:
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain,
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
In his earlier poem Endymion also, his great attraction toward Beauty is evident in the famous lines: "“A thing of beauty is a joy forever; Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”
Keats strongly feels that Beauty is supreme Truth, discovered and created by imagination; the logical reasoning fails to find Beauty. Keats’ ardent devotion to Beauty deserves admiration by all. Keats in one of his famous letters clarified his ideas about Beauty: "I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of Imagination - What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth - whether it existed before or not - for I have the same idea of all our passions as of love: they are all, in their sublime, creativeof essential beauty. In a word, you may know my favorite speculation by my first book, and the little song I send in my last, which is a representation from the fancy of the probable mode of operating in these matters. The imagination may be compared to Adam's dream, - he awoke and found it truth".
This is confirmed if we peruse his greatest "Ode to a NIghtingale". The song of the bird is a symbol of universal and eternal Beauty that never perishes:
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
In the above stanja, Keats affirms that the song of the nightingale is an immortal symbol of Beauty that can never be crushed by the hungry world. This song transcends the geographical boundaries and time. This song was appreciated by Ruth, the emperor and the common persons in ancient times. The truth is that true Beauty never perishes. We find such worship of Beauty 'operative everywhere in his work'.