Themes in Bright Star! Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art
Nature as a Source of Inspiration and Wisdom: Like many poems from the romantic school, Keats’s “Bright Star!” uses images from nature to explore human feelings and themes. In many cases, the relationship is one of instruction: the poet stands humbly before nature, hungry for wisdom and insight. In the case of “Bright Star!” this stance is made explicit in the opening line: “Bright Star! Would I were steadfast as thou art.”
Stability, Stillness, and Steadfastness: The central theme of “Bright Star!” is the speaker’s desire to live up to the ideal of the North Star. The quality the speaker most admires in the star is steadfastness. The North Star is steadfast in both space and time: it never moves from its fixed position in the sky (hence its role as the “pole star”) and is so ancient as to seem immortal by human standards. The speaker, aware of his own limitations, beholds the star in wonder and admiration.