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A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever

Zarir Panthanki
Class of ‘67

He who is devoid of any aesthetic sense he who is dull and prosaic he who is materialistic in outlook or any person of the sort is unfit by nature and temperament to admire and appreciate the beauties of nature the universe or the fine arts. Did not Shakespeare rightly declare that “He who hath no music in him ids fit for cunning stratagem and spoils?”
It was the dazzling grace and beauty which emanated from the statue of Venus de Milos which inspired the lean and frail and tubercle stricken Eugene Sandow yet in his teens to develop the magnificent and matchless physique which lovers of human form and stature and physical culturists all over the world find it hard to forget. He was the cynosure of aesthetic cultural and athletic eyes, a sculptor who chiseled in marble the marvelous haunting and enchanting beauty of Venus transformed it by magic as it were into an altogether different form, for it was Sandow’s beautiful eyes which saw through beauty admired it and appreciated it. The poet Keats has rightly sung ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’ It required a lover a poet or a connoisseur of fine arts to admire and appreciate natural beauty physical beauty moral splendor or intellectual or spiritual grandeur. Thus beauty assumes many forms on the physical or the metaphysical plane. Sandow’s beauty was on the physical plane but Venus’s charms were metaphysical. Who so ever fails to admire beauty in any form merits Shakespeare’s censure against men who have no music in them. ‘Children of Fancy (like Shakespeare fancy’s child) are capable of understanding and eulogizing beauty in all its forms. Panegyrist of this sort is Wordsworth who would not be ‘dull of soul’ to ‘pass by a sight so touching in its majesty’ when ‘earth had nothing to show more fair.’ It was the lover of beauty whose heart leapt up when he beheld a rainbow in the sky and when the scene of the golden daffodils flashed upon his inward eye. It was love and devotion to beauty which inspired Shah Jehan to discover the blind Shiraz who modeled the immortal Taj Mahal, the ‘bubble in marble’ which today stands out as a wonder of the world.
However, ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’ cannot be a universal truth. Though Keats was a poet he was no logician. The voluptuous charm and alluring beauty of a Cleopatra of Helen of Troy and such other enchantresses in the history of men spelt disaster destruction and death not only to their lovers but to entire nations. Such things of beauty could not be a joy forever!