To Autumn

In Ode to Autumn Keats appears before us more as a worshipper of nature. A lover of sensuous beauty, Keats has painted the season of Autumn in minute details which are not only faithful but also charming-All significant sights and sounds of ‘Autumn’ are brought alive to us in a memorable manner with lovely imagery.

to Autumn by John Keats: Summary

The external aspect of the things described is vividly realistic, but what lends additional charm to the photographic vividness is the inner vision of the poet.

The Nature in Autumn
The Nature in Autumn

The fruit of autumn like apples and hazels are ripe to the very core of them, and the secret is the sweet conspiracy between Autumn and the friendly Sun.

to Autumn Nature

Autumn produces many ‘later flowers’ after the summer’s abundant contribution in this sphere. But Keats, not content to talk about the color and fragrance of flowers, focus on their relationship with the bees.

Exploring the psychology of the tired bees, who wonder why summer is continuing, he creates a fine fusion between the human and the natural worlds. The picture is not yet complete.

to Autumn as a Romantic Poem

The cells of the bee-hives have already become clammy, overflowing with honey gathered during summer. It is a sweet problem for the bees. The whole picture of Autumn in the English rural setting is both realistic and beautified with mythical imagination.

The harvester is presented as sitting On the granary floor, having no anxiety in his mind for his grains, and a lock
Of hair dangling on his forehead is being moved gently by the ‘winnowing wind’.

The pictures of the reaper in the ‘half-reaped furrow’, drowsed with the sweet smell of poppy flowers; of the gleaner balancing his corn-loaded form while crossing a brook, and of the patient cider-presser watching the ‘last oozings hours by hours’—all are vivid and life-like, and have a unique emotional and artistic appeal.

How Keats describes the sky and the landscape at the time of autumnal sun-set is truly poetic. Amidst the ‘barred clouds,’ the red sun looks like a blooming flower, and the roots of the corn after harvest gives the ‘stubble plains: a masculine look.

It also creates a suitable background for the music of gnats which, otherwise, would not appeal to the listeners.
Critics generally agree that ‘Ode to Autumn’ is the most satisfying and mature of Keatsean odes.


It is also the most artistically ‘impersonal’ of them, and certainly felicitous in diction and musical cadence. From its opening phrases to the closing ones, matter and manner have not only been superbly blended, but every line bears the authentic stamp of Keatsean poetry at its best.

to Autumn Analysis

The first stanza is the symphony of colour; the second, the symphony of movement; and the third, the symphony of sound. It is, altogether, as rich in details, as in the pattern. C. H. Herford truly says,

“The season of’ mellow fruitfulness’ wakens no romantic vision,

no romantic longing like the nightingale’s song. It satisfies all the senses,

but enthrals and intoxicates none.”

Keats focuses on the richness, plenitude, and peaceful joy of Autumn. Phrases like ‘mellow fruitfulness’, ‘load and bless with fruits’, ‘ripeness to the core’, have an enormous sensuous act.

Ode to Autumn
Ode to Autumn

The climax in this respect is reached with the “O’er brimmed clammy cells” of the bee-hives. But there is something more than a naive celebration of plenitude: the very first line refers to ‘mists’, and soon the bees fondly think,

Key Quotes

‘warm days will never cease’.

These are hints of awareness of the coming winter. The mythical presentation of Autumn through human figures of the farmer, the reaper, the gleaner, and the cider-presser, betrays romantic imagination of the highest order.

to Autumn Critical Analysis

The imagery is sensuously rich and emotionally satisfying. The subtle combination of visual beauty and the feeling of compassion fused. with a plea for indolence, is remarkable in the lines on the reaper.

‘Drowsed with the fume of poppies,
while thy hook Spares the next swath
and all its twined flowers.’

The final stanza begins with the crucial question, ‘Where are the songs of spring? Aye, where are they?’ This nice dramatic interpolation adds a note of variety to the lyric; and immediately answering to his own question the poet rolls out the special music-sheet of Autumn.


The Poem,to Autumn
The Poem,to Autumn

The musical mood is facilitated by the appropriate setting and moment. The ‘wailful choir’ of gnats becomes interesting being ‘borne aloft Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies’.

The bleating of the lamb becomes richer in effect being echoed by surrounding hills. Moreover, the effect is compactly tactile-visual, as in the lines—

‘While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue.’

The ethereal and the earthly, the delicate and the stubborn, the moist and the warning, the blooming and the dying, are imaginatively fused together in such imagery.

While it is superb evidence of Keats’s romantic appreciation of nature, it also exemplifies his power to correlate nature and humanity. Truly, ‘Ode to Autumn’ is a masterpiece of Romantic poetry.

Rhetorical Devices

Many rhetorical devices provoke readers to get impressed. These are Syncope, Anaphora, Alliteration, etc.
Syncope is a style of writing where the poet expresses a word using apostrophe like, ‘moss’d’, ‘brimm’d’, ‘heap’d’, ‘o’er’.

to Autumn Rhyme Scheme

An alliteration is also a form of writing. It provokes the vowel sound used in a single line one after another. In “Ode to Autumn” readers will be able to find that,

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,”


“Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;”

to Autumn Discussion Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What does to autumn by John Keats mean?

‘To Autumn’ signifies the beauty of the season.

How does Keats address autumn?

Keats addresses autumn as ‘season of mellow fruitfulness.

What is the theme of the poem To Autumn?

Nature is the central theme if the poem.

How autumn season was presented by John Keats in to autumn?

It is presented as the season o mellow fruitfulness.

How is autumn personified in the poem?

In the poem, Keats is describing its beauty and climate that is why autumn is personified.

Why is to autumn a romantic poem?

Autumn is romantic because of its beauty. Nature takes a huge role in this poem.

What is the message of to autumn?

The season Autumn is beautiful. This is the message.

What is special about autumn?

Autumn is special because it has its own smells.

Why is autumn a season of mellow fruitfulness?

Because in Autumn the fruits become ripe and its smell molds with nature.

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