Analysis of To Autumn by John keats

Essay by deepesh April 2004

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Keats wrote 'To Autumn' directly after abandoning 'The Fall of Hyperion', during September of 1819. It is among the last of his poems and it is often regarded as the most achieved of his odes. 'To Autumn' is more abundant than at first glance. It didn't touch me like 'Ode to Psyche', but it left me with an equally pleasant feeling of harmony and purpose. Keats once said about Byron 'He describes what he sees - I describe what I imagine, mine is the hardest task'. 'To Autumn' is certainly evidence of this process. The first stanza though, is building up the landscape in a more concrete way. Its full of excellent picture language like:

And fill all fruits with ripeness to the core,

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

Then in the second stanza he starts filling an already almost perfect picture with his imagination.

He moves the background from the ripened fruit to the cider press. He personifies Autumn embodies her in the daily labours of harvest-time. The second line in the this stanza: 'sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find' is for me particularly interesting. I can relate to it so much because it holds such optimism and harmony. Actually it seems to me that the entire second stanza (except the last four lines) is heavy with sleepiness. Take for example the following:

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 they hook,

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:

The four last lines of the second stanza which I spoke of, consists of the realisation of Autumn in physical action. A girl (autumn) walks on a plank across a brook when...