To Autumn

To Autumn

by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Summary of To Autumn

  • Popularity: Written by John Keats, a popular romantic poet, ‘To Autumn’ is a phenomenal ode that celebrates the beauty and grandeur of the autumn season. It was first published in 1819. The poem explores the phenomenon of the fall season appreciatively. Its popularity lies in the representation of many things related to life and nature.
  •  “To Autumn” as a Representative of Natural World: The poem explores the beauty of autumn in three different stages. First, autumn is a friendly conspirator that collaborates with the sun to bring richness, ripeness, and fullness to the fruits. Secondly, it is a witness, who sees the end of ripening and the completion of harvest. Thirdly, it is represented as a musician whose plays sweet melodies. Thus, Keats glorifies autumn with all its bloom and shows no pain and miseries running in this season. However, what appeals the reader is the splendid description of autumn and the message that autumn is not always melancholic and also has its own pleasures.
  • Major Themes “To Autumn”: Contentment, the natural world and the passing of time are the major themes grounded in the poem. Each stanza represents the different stage of autumn. The first stanza unfolds the start of autumn, the second describes the harvest time, and the final stanza gives us a clue about the departure of the season. It is through the powerful and rich description of all these stages the speaker shows his contentment in life. He knows that fleeting time is bringing him close to his end, but he remains hopeful and enjoys the beauty of life with true spirits.

Analysis of Literary Devices in “To Autumn”

Literary devices are used to bring richness and clarity to the texts. The writers use them to make their texts appealing and meaningful. In fact, with the help of these devices, the writers can touch the hearts of the readers. Keats, too, has used some literary devices in this poem to capture the beauty of autumn. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been given below.

  1. Rhetorical Question: Rhetorical question is often used to make a point and not to receive an answer. Keats has posed rhetorical questions in the second and third stanzas to emphasize his point such as, “Where are the songs of spring?”
  2. Imagery: The use of imagery makes the reader visualize the writer’s feelings and emotions. Keats’s imagery evokes the perceptions of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and For instance, in the first stanza, he uses visual imagery such as thatch-eyed”; “mossed cottage-trees”; the granary floor”; “plump the hazel shells” and “full-grown lambs.” There is also olfactory (sense of smell) imagery in the second stanza such as, “fume of poppies” and “sweet kernel.” Tactile imagery is used in the last stanzas such as, “clammy cells” and “winnowing wind.”
  3. Personification: Personification is to give human characteristics to non-human things. Keats has used personification in the opening lines of the poem:

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;”

He personifies the autumn season and the sun by calling them friends as if these abstract things are humans with intimate relations.

  1. Apostrophe: An apostrophe is a device used to call somebody from afar. The poet has used this device in the twelfth line where it is stated as “Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store.” In this line, the poet directly addresses the imaginary character “autumn”.
  2. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. Keats has used a lot of symbols in this poem such as “Autumn” symbolizes the women and “the sun” symbolically stands for a male. Similarly, “gathering swallows” symbolizes the end of autumn.
  3. Simile: A simile is a figure of speech used to compare an object, animal or person with another object or person or animals to make its meaning clear. Keats has used simile in the nineteenth line, “And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep.” Here, he compares autumn with a person who gathers the remaining food from the field.
  4. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, /o/ sound in “Among the river sallows, borne aloft.”
  5. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /t/ in “And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue” and /s/ sound in “Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers.”

The literary analysis shows that Keats has skilfully discussed the majestic beauty of autumn by implying these literary devices.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “To Autumn”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Stanza: Stanza is the poetic form of some lines. There are three stanzas in this poem, with eleven lines in each stanza.
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The rhyme scheme of each stanza is ABAB CDECCCE.
  3. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. Keats has used end rhyme in this poem such as in the first and second lines of the first stanza the rhyming words are, “fullness”, “bless”, “sun” and “run.”
  4. Iambic Pentameter: It is a type of meter consisting of five iambs. The meter of the poem is generally iambic pentameter such as, “Among the river sallows bourne al

Quotes to be Used

These lines can be used when discussing a personal experience or visiting a place full of ripe fruits.

“With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to onal experience the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees.”