John Keats - Selected Poems - Revision Notes
Ode celebrates the perfection of natural beauty.
Language - "Seasons of mist" = sibilance. Poem sensuous like description of Madeline's room in St Agnes. Sense of abundance in Stanza 1, "fill all fruit with ripeness... to swell... and plump...". Personification - "Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind". "Winnowing wind" = Alliteration, assonance, some degree of onomatopeia. "Full grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bown" = assonance.
Themes - Simple. Daily observation & appreciation. Autumn = warmth, abundance. He can celebrate here - no pain. Autumn a good theme as Keats concerned with transcience of life, changes are evident here. Last line - "gathering swallows twitter in the skies" = winter approaching, migration, like life - a sense of loss?
History - Peterloo massacre 1 month before poem, food riots, worker rights... poem shows the beauty of nature.
Structure - Progressional like seasons.
Stanza 1 - Early autumn, "Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells", Stanza 2 - Mid autumn "winnowing wind", Stanza 3 - Late, Swallows approaching. Stanza 2 slows down, tiredness "Drows'd with the fume of poppies / the last oozings hours by hours" - slows down pace nearly to full stop. Stanza 3 - nostalgia, about cycle, seasons, winter coming.
Form - Like Melancholy, 3 stanzas, variable rhyming, Iambic pentameter, 11 lines, structured rhyme scheme, split 4/7 per stanza.
Language - Metamorphosis - "She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue, Vermillion-spotted, golden, green and blue" - very attractive description. Effective oxymoron - "Her head was serpent, but ah, bitter-sweet!". "Nothing but pain and ugliness were left" = very explicit contrast to the dazzling initial description. Alliteration = "His silent sandals swept to the mossy green" & onomatopeia of sweeping & shifting. Magical wedding - description...