In a letter to his friend John Hamilton Reynolds written on 21 September, Keats described the impression the scene had made upon him and its influence on the composition of "To Autumn":[2] "How beautiful the season is now – How fine the air. What kind of person might autumn be? During the spring of 1819, Keats wrote many of his major odes: "Ode on a Grecian Urn", "Ode on Indolence", "Ode on Melancholy", "Ode to a Nightingale", and "Ode to Psyche".         Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; The ode is a celebration of change, involving life, growth and death. "[24] Later, in 1973, Stuart Sperry wrote, "'To Autumn' succeeds through its acceptance of an order innate in our experience – the natural rhythm of the seasons. 4. Thanksgiving poems for family and friends. Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art”. It is a sumptuous description of the season of autumn in a three-stanza structure, each of eleven lines, and of an ABAB rhyme scheme. What observations on the human experience might these images suggest? "[62] The 1888 Britannica declared, "Of these [odes] perhaps the two nearest to absolute perfection, to the triumphant achievement and accomplishment of the very utmost beauty possible to human words, may be that to Autumn and that on a Grecian Urn". To Autumn Summary " To Autumn" is a 1819 poem by John Keats that celebrates the season of autumn. "[72] Timothy Corrigan, in 2000, claimed that "'To Autumn' may be, as other critics have pointed out, his greatest achievement in its ability [...] to redeem the English vernacular as the casual expression of everyday experience, becoming in this his most exterior poem even in all its bucolic charm. O'Rourke suggests that something of a fear of that ending is subtly implied at the end of the poem,[27] although, unlike the other great odes, in this poem the person of the poet is entirely submerged,[24] so there is at most a faint hint of Keats's own possible fear. [43], "To Autumn" is a poem of three stanzas, each of eleven lines. There is nothing confusingor complex in Keats’s paean to the season of autumn, with its fruitfulness,its flowers, and the song of its swallows gathering for migration.The extraordinary achievement of this poem lies in its ability tosuggest, explore, and develop a rich abundance of themes withoutever ruffling its calm, gentle, and lovely description of autumn.Where “Ode on Melancholy” presents itself as a strenuous heroicques… The sounds that are presented are not only those of Autumn but essentially the gentle sounds of the evening. See Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market” and Kevin Young’s “Ode to the Midwest” for other examples. There is a lack of definitive action, all motion being gentle. [5], On 19 September 1819, Keats walked near Winchester along the River Itchen. "To Autumn" is a poem by English Romantic poet John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821). McGann thinks to rescue Keats from the imputation of political naïveté by saying that he was a radical browbeaten into quietism".[31]. Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,— 1. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? [45], Between the manuscript version and the published version of "To Autumn" Keats tightened the language of the poem. Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours. The references to Spring, the growing lambs and the migrating swallows remind the reader that the seasons are a cycle, widening the scope of this stanza from a single season to life in general.         To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells Keats’s ode addresses the age-old and universal theme of the cycle of life, using the metaphor of the seasons to depict the human experience of growing to maturity and dying. Traditionally, the water-meadows south of Winchester, along which Keats took daily leisurely walks, were assumed to have provided the sights and sounds of his ode. 1. It is a poem that, without ever stating it, inevitably suggests the truth of 'ripeness is all' by developing, with a richness of profundity of implication, the simple perception that ripeness is fall. Have them pay special attention to the speaker’s choice of verbs as they read. “To Autumn” is an ode—a celebratory address to a person, place or thing. There is also an emphasis on long vowels which control the flow of the poem, giving it a slow measured pace: "...while barred clouds bloom the soft dying day". Near the end of the stanza, the steadiness of the gleaner in lines 19–20 again emphasises a motionlessness within the poem. In this quietude, the gathered themes of the preceding odes [45] In each case, there is a couplet before the final line. The words are weighted by the emphasis of bilabial consonants (b, m, p), with lines like "...for Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells." [29] Countering this view, Andrew Bennett, Nicholas Roe and others focused on what they believed were political allusions actually present in the poem, Roe arguing for a direct connection to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. Ode to Autumn Margaret September 19, 2020 articles 40 Comments 331 Views I thought as we are fast approaching autumn (the meteorologists say autumn begins on the 1st September, but for me it begins on the 21st September) I would again post mainly photographs, this time with one of the most colourful seasons of the year in mind. Among these odes criticism can hardly choose; in each of them the whole magic of poetry seems to be contained. [37] This "political" element in the poem,[22] Bewell points out, has also been suggested by Geoffrey Hartman, who expounded a view of "To Autumn" as "an ideological poem whose form expresses a national idea".         Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours. McGann, Jerome. Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy. For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells. [12] In lines 14–15 the personification of Autumn is as an exhausted labourer. Why might the rhyme scheme vary—and what effect does it have on you as a reader to have some rhymes close together and others far apart? According to Helen Vendler, "To Autumn" may be seen as an allegory of artistic creation. "[26] The progress of growth is no longer necessary; maturation is complete, and life and death are in harmony. When this theme appears later in "To Autumn",[23] however, it is with a difference. "[6] Not everything on Keats's mind at the time was bright; the poet knew in September that he would have to finally abandon Hyperion. [25], Critics have tended to emphasize different aspects of the process. Pay attention to the sounds, sights, and smells around you and describe them in your poem. Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; To bend with apples the mossed let my spirit blood! The following ode to Autumn is no unfavourable specimen. The land, previously a copse, had recently been turned over to food production to take advantage of high bread prices. [14] The progression through the day is revealed in actions that are all suggestive of the drowsiness of afternoon: the harvested grain is being winnowed, the harvester is asleep or returning home, the last drops issue from the cider press. [74] In 2008, Stanley Plumly wrote, "history, posterity, immortality are seeing 'Ode to a Nightingale,' 'Ode on a Grecian Urn,' and 'To Autumn' as three of the most anthologized lyric poems of tragic vision in English. While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, [61] John Dennis, in an 1883 work about great poets, wrote that "the 'Ode to Autumn', ripe with the glory of the season it describes—must ever have a place among the most precious gems of lyrical poetry. in Bewell 1999 p. 176, McFarland quotes Shelley. The poetic revolution that brought common people to literature’s highest peaks. These progressions are joined with a shift from the tactile sense to that of sight and then of sound, creating a three-part symmetry which is not present in Keats's other odes. A temperate sharpness about it [...] I never lik'd stubble fields so much as now [...] Somehow a stubble plain looks warm – in the same way that some pictures look warm – this struck me so much in my sunday's walk that I composed upon it. "[54], Early reviews of "To Autumn" focused on it as part of Keats's collection of poems Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems. Like others of Keats's odes written in 1819, the structure is that of an odal hymn, having three clearly defined sections corresponding to the Classical divisions of strophe, antistrophe, and epode. Have students consider the speaker’s unique take on this revelation in the last stanza. [40], Thomas McFarland, on the other hand, in 2000 cautioned against overemphasizing the "political, social, or historical readings" of the poem, which distract from its "consummate surface and bloom".     Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Ask, what might an illustration of this last stanza look like? Beginning with the first two stanzas, which describe the poet’s personified “autumn” who conspires with the sun, sits “careless on a granary floor,” and “watches the last oozings,” have students put the list of what autumn does into their own words. "To Autumn" is an ode by the English Romantic poet John Keats written in 1819. The poem marks the final moment of his career as a poet. "[66], Harold Bloom, in 1961, described "To Autumn" as "the most perfect shorter poem in the English language. For example, in his "Ode to Melancholy" a major theme is the acceptance of the process of life. Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Parallel to this, the poem depicts the day turning from morning to afternoon and into dusk. To Autumn is a modified ode, 33 lines split into 3 stanzas each eleven lines long. Keats uses personification—assigning human characteristics to inanimate objects—to create a portrait of a season. Summary of Stanza 1 of Ode to Autumn In this stanza the poet has described the beauty of autumn. Ode To Autumn The first step I took for this project was to annotate the poem so that it would make more sense to me and I could also start to think of photo ideas: [11], As the poem progresses, Autumn is represented metaphorically as one who conspires, who ripens fruit, who harvests, who makes music. As night approaches within the final moments of the song, death is slowly approaching alongside the end of the year. After the month of May, he began to pursue other forms of poetry, including the verse tragedy Otho the Great in collaboration with friend and roommate Charles Brown, the second half of Lamia, and a return to his unfinished epic Hyperion. Have students paraphrase and then illustrate the first two stanzas before stopping to discuss the change that occurs in the third. In, Corrigan, Timothy.     Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; This poem is remarkable for its appeal to the sense, its work pictures and imagery. Summary of To Autumn ‘To Autumn’ is one of Keats’ most sensual, image-laden poems. [3] His efforts from spring until autumn were dedicated completely to a career in poetry, alternating between writing long and short poems, and setting himself a goal to compose more than fifty lines of verse each day. Autumn is not depicted as actually harvesting but as seated, resting or watching. McFarland 2000 pp.     The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft; It is a season during which different kinds of fruits ripening and it seems that autumn activity cooperates with the sun in bringing about the maturity of the fruit. [49] Keats varies this form by the employment of Augustan inversion, sometimes using a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable at the beginning of a line, including the first: "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness"; and employing spondees in which two stressed syllables are placed together at the beginnings of both the following stanzas, adding emphasis to the questions that are asked: "Who hath not seen thee...", "Where are the songs...? It surprises the reader with the unusual idea that autumn is a season to rejoice. If death in itself is final, here it comes with a lightness, a softness, also pointing to "an acceptance of process beyond the possibility of grief. Where are the songs of Spring? The work was composed on 19 September 1819 and published in 1820 in a volume of Keats's poetry that included Lamia and The Eve of St. Agnes. The later edition relies more on passive, past participles, as apparent in the change of "While a gold cloud" in line 25 to "While barred clouds". This process involves an element of self-sacrifice by the artist, analogous to the living grain's being sacrificed for human consumption. "To Autumn" is the final work in a group of poems known as Keats's "1819 odes". And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells. "[64] Sidney Colvin, in his 1917 biography, pointed out that "the ode To Autumn [...] opens up no such far-reaching avenues to the mind and soul of the reader as the odes To a Grecian Urn, To a Nightingale, or On Melancholy, but in execution is more complete and faultless than any of them. Despite these distractions, on 19 September 1819 he found time to write "To Autumn". The rich description of the cycle of the seasons enables the reader to feel a belonging "to something larger than the self", as James O'Rourke expresses it, but the cycle comes to an end each year, analogous to the ending of single life. More recently, in 2012, a specific probable location of the cornfield that inspired Keats was discussed in an article by Richard Marggraf Turley, Jayne Archer and Howard Thomas, which draws upon new archival evidence. Conspiring with him how to load and bless 2. What is difficult about writing poetry that follows strict patterns? Page Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find The first stanza of the ode speaks to autumn, personifying the season as an addressee.
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