Date of Award
Languages & Literature
'If I should die,' said I to itself, ‘I have left no immortal work behind me— nothing to make my friends proud of my memory— but I have lov’d the principle of beauty in all things, and if I had had time I would have made myself remember'd."
These are the outpourings of a soul, agonized, fearful, at the prospect of approaching death; fearful not because of the pain of death, but fearful because death itself is the iron gate which shuts out all hope of this soul achieving its supreme utterance in the realization of an intense communication with ideal Beauty, the transcendence of mortality through the immortality of created Beauty.
And this is not the soul of just any man— no, it could not be so— but only a soul possessed by an impassioned, profound young man, a man undeniably sensitive to the beauty of all things around him, a man whose very life was a search for "the principle of beauty in all things" through the external motif of beauty in poetry, a beauty which is truth. This is the soul of an inspired young poet named John Keats, a poet whose passion for the beautiful lifted him to creativity which Professor Selincourt, a critic, admirer, and authority on Keats, claims is “matched only by Shakespeare and Milton."
Moran, Kathleen, "Keats: A Tribute To Beauty" (1965). Languages and Literature Undergraduate Theses. 91.