Analysis of Ode to Autumn by John Keats

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The latest of Keats’s odes “To Autumn” was written in September 1819. Here the tensions, opposition, and Conflicting emotions are diminished amid a series of dense impressions of a season whose bounty contains both fulfillment and incipient decay, both an intensification of life and inevitable but the natural process of aging and dying. In thought and expression, Ode to Autumn is perhaps the best of Keats odes.

It is the nearest to absolute perfection. It is complete in its rounded perfection and   felicity of loveliness, here we have the sensuous touch; the reflective note of love of nature and the painting  the pictures in words, the poem is divided into  3 eleven lined stanzas, however, the order of the lines of the first stanza differs from the order of 2nd  and 3rd  we find the rhymes perfect and simple and constitutes chiefly of mono of syllabic words and there are no famine endings  Keats word painting is at its best here clammy cells, “the  last oozing , hour by hour”, “barred clouds bloom… day testify to the fine felicity of expression* the poem is itself ‘soft-voiced’. It offers a breathless plea….. The dusting S- rounds increase the sense of an almost dowry fertility.

*Cyder-maker

Reaching its climax in :

Thou watchest the last oozing, hour by hour:-

Slumberous feeling is induced by the usual vowel play: drowse’s with fume of poppies” there is the use of short syllables in the last stanza – “Waitful choir “Light Wind”, Twitter.

There is neither any tendency towards alliteration nor any repetition of sounds though personification (close from……..) paradox (conspiring with him)antithesis ( until they ……. Cause) sustained metaphor (in the whole 2nd paragraph) where Autumn is compared to harvester,

Reaper and cyder maker: provides the pinch of rhetorical salt to the simple soup of the ode. There is a wonderful speaking simplicity, syllables rather being contrasted.

In the first stanza, Autumn appears in all her lustrous and enormous beauty. She is the season of 6 mellow fruit fullness. The 2nd time contains the germs of personification which is fully developed in the stanza to follow. In the first stanza, we set a delightful and sympathetic reference to odes— ‘until they think warm days will never cease: here is subjective touch. The poet projects himself into the mind, into the supposed thoughts of the bees in such a natural manner that it seems less a poetic and more a literal description of what is existent.

If in the 1st Stanza Keats describes the beauty of Autumn, In the 2nd he describes the Autumn herself. First, comes the season personified as a harvester during winnowing, then as a tired reaper a leaner going home at sundown and easily, she appears as a cider maker watching the last oozing hours by hours.

The width of Keat’s sympathy with nature is well illustrated in the last stanza. The Autumn has her own music, it is the mourning fuzz of the swarm of gnets, in the rusting of leaves the slowing of winds in the wedge cricket and in the chirping of robin. Additional interest is lent to the locality to which each one has attributed lamb beats from the same and the robin whistles in the same garden and the swallows twitter in the sky.

In a word, the poetry of Earth is never dead. In “To Autumn”, the treatment of time is objective and impersonal the season itself is very meaningful in being couched between the warm fruitation of summer and the barren west wind of winter. The rich harvest of the year is garnered and yet death is recognized as something interwoven in the course of things as the aftermath of glory and fertility.

Autumn a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is also a spectacle annihilation of last ‘oozing hours by hours’ here the moments of instance life cannot be disentangled from those of decay. The pleasure – pain paradox remains a property of the ‘ Time –cycle’ the poem ode can be expressed by a frequently polygon:-

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