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Unit II Ode To Autumn John Keats

John Keats (17951821) was an English Romantic poet. He


was one of the main figures of the second generation of
Romantic poets, along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe
Shelley, despite his works having been in publication for only
four years before his death.

Born: 31 October 1795, Moorgate, City of London, United


Kingdom

Died: 23 February 1821, Rome, Italy

Notable Works

Endymion, Odes, The Eve of St. Agnes, Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion

Introduction to Ode to Autumn

To Autumn is a poem by English Romantic poet John


Keats (31 October 1795 23 February 1821). 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. To
Autumn is the final work in a group of poems known
as Keats's 1819 odes. Although personal problems
left him little time to devote to poetry in 1819, he
composed To Autumn after a walk near Winchester
one autumnal evening. The work marks the end of his
poetic career, as he needed to earn money and could
no longer devote himself to the lifestyle of a poet. A
little over a year following the publication of To
Autumn, Keats died in Rome.
Text Ode To
Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the mossd cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has oer-brimmd their clammy cells.


Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reapd furrow sound asleep,

Drowsd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;


And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Paraphrase

Stanza 1: Autumn and the sun are old pals. It is a season when many fruits and other
crops are harvested, making autumn fruit-full. Autumn is a close friend of the sun, who
is "maturing" as the year goes on. The sun and autumn are "conspiring," on how to
make fruit grow on the vines that curl around the roofs ("eves") of thatched cottages.
The apples "bend" down the branches of mossy trees with their weight. The ripeness
penetrates deep to the very center of the fruit. The ripeness expands like a balloon to
"fill up" nuts and gourds. The seeds that drop to the ground when nuts fall from trees,
will "later" turn into new plants and flowers when spring comes again. Autumn isn't just a
time of things dying off, turning brown, and falling to the ground. It also sets the stage
for the return of growth in the spring. From nature's perspective, fruit is the mechanism
for planting new seeds.

Stanza 2: The season witness the ripening of fruits. Fruits are found in plenty during this
time. If anyone wants to see the autumn, all they have to do is travel through the
countryside hitting up every "granary". One can find autumn sitting on the floor of one
of them. Now that the grain has been harvested, autumn doesn't have a care in the
world. The work for this season is done and it has the luxury of taking rest. She sits on
the granary, and her hair is lifted by a gentle wind. She might also be on the furrow of a
field that has only partially been harvested. Autumn is basically drunk on the smell of the
poppy flowers that she was going to harvest. She lies on the furrow while the "hook," or
sickle, that she uses to cut the flowers lies unused. She hasn't got to the next "swatch"
of flowers. Autumn can also be found among the gleaner. She puts her head down to
cross over a brook, just as a gleaner bows his or her head to look for grains. After
searching all those other places is she is still not found, we might try the "cider-press,"
where she's totally mesmerized watching the fruit get squeezed into a thick, sugary
juice.

Stanza 3: People do not have to worry about autumn from spring is just in the corner.
Autumn too has her own charm. The patchy clouds, between which patches of sky can
be seen appear to be in "bloom," like flowers, as they light up with the colors of sunset.
The day is "dying" at sunset, but it's not a tragic or violent death. It's "soft" and gentle.
The reddish colors of the sunlight "touch" the fields gently. The fields have been
harvested, so all that is left is a flat "stubble" of crop. The gnats by the riverside "mourn"
the dying day like a choir at a funeral. They are "wailing" as if the daylight had been a
close relation for them. The speaker continues to paint the sunset as a life-or-death
struggle for the light. Lambs are bleating near the small stream, or "bourn," that flows
down a hill. Crickets are "singing" by rubbing their wings together. With a soft but high
("treble") voice, the redbreast robin is whistling in an enclosed garden, or "garden-croft."
The swallows have taken to the sky at twilight, and they "twitter" joyfully as the sun goes
down.

Glossary

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness: Autumn season


Bosom-friend: Close friend
Conspiring: (Of events or circumstances) seem to be working together to bring about a
particular negative result. Here in this poem it is however done for a positive
cause.
Thatch-eves: On a thatched cottage,
where the roof is made of straw, the
eaves often project a good way past
the edge of the outer wall. This
means that under the eaves you
have a small area of relative warmth
and shelter; a good place for fruit
vines (bramble, raspberry, or pear
espaliers) to grow.
Mossd cottage-trees: The apples become so numerous that their
weight bends the trees
Core: The tough central part of various fruits, containing the seeds.
Gourd: A fleshy, typically large fruit with a hard skin, some
varieties of which are edible. It includes squash,
zucchini, and, especially, pumpkins.

Hazel shells: "Hazel" is a plant that produces the nuts that add
delicious flavor to coffee or gelato. The nut is the "sweet kernel"
that we eat
Kernel: A softer, usually edible part of a nut, seed, or
fruit stone contained within its shell.
Oer-brimmd: Filled up in excess to the point of
overflow
Clammy cells: The moist insides of the flowers
Oft: Often
Granary floor: A granary is a storehouse or room in a
barn for threshed grain or animal feed.
Winnowing wind: Blow a current of air through (grain)
in order to remove the chaff.
Furrow: "Furrows" are the long, undulating hills in fields, on top of which crops grow.
The dips in the furrows are used for irrigation.
Drowsd: Be half asleep
Fume of poppies: The speaker claims that autumn is basically drunk on the smell of
the poppy flowers that she was going to harvest.
Swath: a row or line of grass, corn, or other crops as it falls or lies when mown or
reaped.
Gleaner: To gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers.
Laden: Heavily loaded or weighed down

Cyder-press: A press for crushing apples to make


cider.
Oozings:
To flow or leak out slowly, as through small op
enings.
Barred clouds: The patchy clouds, between which
patches of sky can be seen
Stubble plains: The fields with the left-out stubbles
of the crop after the harvest.
Rosy hue: Reddish colors of the sunlight
Wailful choir: Crying and mourning the death of
someone
Gnats: They are actually tiny
flies and are sometimes
called blackflies or midges.
Sallows: They are a type of willow trees

Aloft: Up in or into the air; overhead.


Hilly bourn: Bourns are small streams running near hills
Hedge-crickets:

Treble: A soft but high ("treble") voice


Red-breast: Red breast robin bird
Garden-croft: Enclosed garden
Swallows:
Twitter: (of a bird) give a call consisting of repeated light tremulous sounds.

Choose the Best Answer

1. The work which marks the end of Keats poetic career is ____________

a. Ode to a Nightingale

b. Ode to Melancholy

c. Ode to Autumn

2. Ode to Autumn has been described by critics as ____________________

a. Meditation on death

b. Celebration of life

c. The problems of a farmer

3. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness refers to ___________

a. Spring season

b. Autumn season

c. Summer season

4. ____________ is considered as Autumns close friend.

a. Moon

b. Star

c. Sun
5. Sun conspires along with Autumn season to _______________

a. Load and bless trees with fruits

b. Give trouble to trees

c. Punish the trees

6. The fruits get ripened to the core due to the conspiracy of ________________

a. Moon and Autumn

b. Sun and Autumn

c. Star and Autumn

7. Autumn is personified as a ______________

a. Man

b. Woman

c. Baby

8. Autumn can be found sitting near _____________

a. Granary

b. Rice Mill

c. Wind Mill

9. Autumn may be found near ________________

a. Lake

b. Furrows

c. Swimming pool
10. Autumn is lulled to sleep due to the effect of ____________

a. Heavy food

b. Drinking

c. Fume of Poppies

Fill in the Blanks

1. At the time of his death, John Keats was just __________ years old.

2. Among various poems written by Keats ___________ is the most popular.

3. Keats wrote _______ odes.

4. Autumn can be seen in the role of a ___________ too.

5. People usually prefer ____________ season

6. According to the poet, Autumn season too has its own ____________

7. During Autumn season __________ sounds can be heard near to lake.

8. The third stanza in Ode to Autumn images of ___________ is evident.

9. In this third stanza, the close of the ______ is associated with sunset and night-fall.

10. Keats Ode to Autumn ____________ life.

(Answer)

1. 25

2. Odes

3. 6

4. Gleaner

5. Spring

6. Music

7. Gnats
8. Death

9. Year

10. Celebrates

True (or) False

1. John Keats celebrates the autumn season in the ode.

2. Autumn and the sun are old pals.

3. Autumn witness the ripening of fruits.

4. Autumn is basically drunk on the smell of the hibiscus flowers.

5. In the second stanza Keats personifies autumn as a lady.

6. Contentment is one of the themes of Ode to Autumn.

7. Keats finds autumn dull and prosaic.

8. Autumn is depicted as a harvester sitting carelessly in the field during a


winnowing operation.

9. Autumn provides solace and warmth from the ensuing chill of the winters.

10. Keats does not project death as part of the life.

(Answer)

1. True

2. True

3. True

4. False

5. True

6. True
7. False

8. True

9. True

10. False

Answer the Following Questions in a Sentence or Two

Q1. What is Keats Ode to Autumn about?

Keats Ode to Autumn celebrates autumn season as another stage of life and
attributes life, colour and sounds to it.

Q2. What is special about Autumn season?

Autumn is a season of ripe fruitfulness. It is the time of the ripening of grapes,


apples, gourds, hazelnuts, etc.

Q3. What does Autumn gift the earth with?

Autumn brings all the fruits of earth to maturity in readiness for harvesting.

Q4. How does Keats personify Autumn?

Keats personifies Autumn as a reaper, a winnower, a gleaner, and a cider-presser.

Q5. Who add musicality to Autumn?

The gnats, the full-grown lambs, the hedge-crickets, the robin; and the swallows
add musicality to Autumn.

Q6. What is the general belief regarding Autumn?

Autumn season is usually considered as dull period with nothing worthwhile to


cherish about.

Q7. What aspects of Autumn does Keats dwell upon in his ode?
Keats Ode to Autumn describes three different aspects of the season: its
fruitfulness, its labor and its ultimate decline.

Q8. What is the prevailing mood in Keats Ode to Autumn?

The prevailing mood of "To Autumn" is peace and contentment.

Q9. Does the end of "Ode to Autumn" provide any resolution?

Keats Ode to Autumn provides resolution by asserting that even autumn, a


season of endings, has a touching beauty all its own.

Q10. What does Autumn symbolize?

Autumn symbolizes maturity in human and animal lives.

Short Answers (50 Words)

Q1. Why is autumn called Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...maturing


sun?

The plants and fruits which were born in spring attain maturity in autumn. The rays
of the sun help the fruit ripen. The poet imagines that autumn and the sun act
together to supply the vines with grapes.

Q2. What does the Keats mean by Until ten...clammy cells..

In autumn when the late flowers are still in bloom, the bees go on collecting honey
in spite of the fact that during summer they had collected enough honey. They
mistake autumn for summer and think that the summer will never while their cells
are overflowed with honey.

Q3. How does the poet personify autumn in the poem?


Keats here presented autumn in its four striking aspects of the seasonal activities.
Autumn is seen as the harvester, a tired reaper, a gleaner and as a cider-presser
who, watches the apple-juice oozing out.

Q4. Why does the poet say Where are the songs of Spring?

The poet reaches to an understanding that with the attainment of maturity of


everything in nature, its resourcefulness, is on the verge of giving way to bareness
and scarcity of the winter. This makes the poet mourn while comparing the vitality
and vibrancy of spring with those of autumn.

Q5. What does the poet mean by ...barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day/And
touch the stubbleplains with rosy hue...?

The declining autumnal sun casts its glow on the clouds, which take a rosy flavor.
When this glow of the setting sun is cast on the bare fields with stumps, everything
looks rosy.

Q6. What does Autumn conspire along with the sun?

"Conspiring" means planning with someone in secret. The Sun and Autumn are
close friends. They combine together to conspire and bring about the miracle of
life. They plan for a bumper harvest which would make the farmer happy.

Q7. How is Autumn portrayed in Keats Ode to Autumn?

Autumn is represented metaphorically as one who conspires, who ripens fruit, who
harvests, who makes music. It is also shown as involved with the promotion of
natural processes, growth and ultimate maturation.

Q8. What constitutes the music of Autumn?

The is conscious of the fact that autumn has its own beauty and music. The
numerous sounds produced by the gnats, swallows, lambs, crickets, and Robin
Red Breast collectively produce the autumnal symphony.

Q9. Why is Autumn called as season of fruitfulness?


Autumn is the season of fruition. It yields the bounty that sustains lifegrapes,
apples, pumpkins, squash, nuts, and honeyand fills the granaries with the field
harvest.

Q10. How does Keats demonstrate the power of nature?

Keats focuses on the life and goodness which nature produces. He uses rich
vibrant language to describe the sights and sounds he encounters. Although the
year is gradually drawing to a close, there are hints of a new life cycle which will
begin again and bring fresh life.

Paragraph Questions (150 Words)

Q1. What is Keats Ode to Autumn all about?

Keats odes are a celebration of life. Keats looked at different aspects of living and
its impact on human beings. He was capable of finding goodness in everything.
The theme of Ode to Autumn is of culmination. Keats talks of autumn as a season
that yields the fruits of labor. During autumn, the land is blessed with the bounty
that sustains lifegrapes, apples and gourds. The granaries become full with
harvest from the field. People also bear fruit with achievement. They go about life
and while they do they learn, build, teach, heal, entertain, earn money and also
partake and contribute time. Autumn is a season of fulfilment and contentment.
The fruits of labor have been received and it is a time of relaxation. Autumn sits
and it can drowse without any worries. The third theme in this poem is about the
inevitability of change in life. People are awaiting the onset of spring. Change is the
hallmark of life and death is inevitable. One part of life is complete and the next is
approaching. But autumn has its own uniqueness and the poet portrays the various
sounds that can heard in autumn. Autumn is a comparison to old age and decay in
life. The poem deals with the progression of life during old age when the time has
come to rest. It is a natural part of life just like the seasons.

Q2. What is the effect of Autumn on the trees and plants?


In Ode to Autumn Keats describes the effect of the season on nature. Autumn is a
time of positivity for nature. Keats uses extensive imagery in his poem to describe
this. Autumn is the season of fruitfulness. Fruits like grapes, apples, gourds,
hazelnuts, etc. have ripened. The bees suck nectar from later flowers and make
honey. In the first stanza Autumn is highlighted as the harbinger of mellowed
fruitfulness. The fruits of earth have reached maturity and are ready to be
harvested. Autumn also signals the beginning of end. Nature is in a relaxed state
and enjoying a much-deserved break as if one life cycle is over. The rewards of
hard days of work are being reaped. With the harvesting the task will come to an
end. The crimson light of the setting sun falls on the fields and a chorus of natural
sounds can be heard. The grasshoppers are chirping, the gnats are mournful and
full-grown lambs are bleating upon the hillside. The red breasted robins high
pitched delicate notes can be heard. And the swallows are twittering the sky. The
picture portrayed is of nature in a very relaxed state.

Q3. Write on the personification in Keats Ode to Autumn.

Keats uses personification to create a lively image of Autumn in Ode to Autumn.


In the first stanza, Autumn is portrayed as a friend of the sun. The personified
Autumn and the sun conspire to ripen fruits and vegetation. The season is so
vibrant that the bees assume that there will be no end to the warm days. The ideas
mists and mellow fruitfulness indicate an early time in the day. In the second
stanza Autumn is addressed as "thee." To the poet, Autumn is harvest season. In
his personification, Keats pictures Autumn sitting on a granary floor as the grain is
being harvested. Autumn is drowsy because of the "fume" of poppies. Autumn is
witnessing apples in a "cyder-press." The first stanza seems to indicate that it is
early in the day. The time in the second stanza may well be midday when Autumn
has spent "hours by hours" watching the harvest, and a sense of time that has
passed by is felt.

Q4. Why is Keats a sensuous poet? Base your reasoning on Ode to Autumn.
Keats is noted for his sensuousness and richness of imagination. His poems are
an indulgence in luxuriance of imagery. At the same time, he was disciplined in his
feelings and crafts. He understood the importance of sensation, but for him it was a
path to knowing reality. His richness of thoughts is most perfect and balanced in
Ode to autumn. In fact, sensuousness is Keats unparalleled quality and poetic
genius. He indulges in sense and its delight. He is known to have gratified the five
human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. The charm of Autumn is
portrayed in all its sensuous appeal in Ode to Autumn. The entire landscape is
fresh and scented. There is great richness in each line in the first stanza. Keats
surrenders to his awareness of sensuousness in the poem and surrenders himself
to feeling every mood of sense. The lines in the poem are like branches in a bough
bearing fruits that have matured to a great extent. The imagery of nature, the
scenery, fruits, flowers and honey appeal to the human senses. The hazel in their
kernel and honey from bees, appeal to the sense of taste and smell. In the poem,
Keats has chosen objects and created an imagery with a description that brings
out sensuous appeal. This sensuousness is the charm of Keats poetry.

Q5. Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too. Elaborate.

One of the trademark of odes written by Keats is the ability to embed messages in
a line or two. In Ode to Autumn the lines, Where are the songs of Spring? Ay,
where are they? and Think not of them, thou hast thy music too are the point of
most discussion. They are the opening lines in the third stanza. Autumn has been
projected as a season of mellowed fruitfulness and drowsed in poppy fumes. Keats
suggests the end of one stage of life and the beginning of another. He prepares
them for death. The day is ending and the beauty that has been experienced is
being missed. With the onset of autumn one begins to yearn for spring. Keats
consoles the readers by saying that one need not despair because Autumn has its
own specialties as well. It has its own music like the chirping of crickets, mournful
gnats and bleating of lambs. If one is patient one can enjoy the state of being in
autumn. Life is completed and attains full circle with. With the end of life, a new
cycle begins. Every aspect of life has its own meaning and importance and needs
to be embraced whole heartedly.

Essay Questions

Q1. Briefly summarize Keats Ode to Autumn..

Introduction: Ode to Autumn is a poem penned by English Romantic poet John


Keats. Keats composed the poem on 19 September 1819. It was featured in a
volume of Keats poetry that had additional works including Lamia and The Eve of
St. Agnes in 1820. To Autumn is the final poem that was written by Keats in a
collection known as "1819 odes". The ode is a celebration of autumn season in
direct comparison with one of the stages of life, its attributes, colour and sounds.

Season of Fruition: Autumn is a season of completion and fruitfulness. It is the


time when the produce of the land such as grapes, apples, gourds, hazelnuts
ripen. It is time when bees extract nectar from later flowers and make honey. The
opening stanza describes Autumn as the season that brings maturity to all fruits of
the earth so they can be harvested.

Season of Occupations: Autumn is personified as a reaper, a winnower, a


gleaner, and a cider-presser in the second stanza. Reaping, winnowing, gleaning
and cider-pressing are work done in farmland and connected to harvesting carried
on in autumn. Autumn is described as harvesting sitting carelessly in the farmland
when winnowing is underway; secondly, as a reaper tired and asleep while the
harvest is reaped; thirdly, as a gleaner walking home, head leaden with load; and
fourthly, as a cider-presser watching apple juice flowing out of a cider-press.
Season of Songs: Autumn is not fully dull and without its attractions. Just as has
its songs, autumn has its own sounds and songs. When it is later in the day, the
crimson light of the setting sun falls on the fields and a variety of natural sounds is
heard. The hedge-crickets can be heard chirping, the gnats sound mournful, fully-
grown lambs bleat on the hills, the robins tweet in high pitched notes and the
swallows twitter in the sky. The last stanza depicts the end of the year by
mentioning sunset and night fall.

Conclusion: Autumn is a season that is perceived as being dull with nothing to


celebrate and worthwhile to cherish. It is hot and dry. Keats presents a totally
different side of autumn by breaking the barrier. Autumn is a picture of liveliness
and attraction according to him. His ode makes readers understand and accept
different stages of life as they are. In short, Ode to Autumn is a celebration of life.

Q2. Critically appreciate Keats Ode to Autumn.

Introduction: John Keats wrote one of his best poems, To Autumn, on Sunday,
September 19, 1819. Its remarkably quick completion exemplifies Keatss
accomplishments generally. The poem was written rapidly in a life notable as one
of the briefest and most compact of all the great poets lives. It is the last of the
odes that Keats composed from May to September of 1819 and thus one of the
last poems he ever wrote.

Musing on a Season of Mellowed Fruitfulness: To Autumn is composed of quiet,


sedate musings on a beautiful season. In the beginning of each stanza, Keats
declares a theme, and over the ensuing lines presents varying examples of that
theme. The first stanza is primarily one of activity. Autumn and the sun conspire to
load and bless with fruit the vines, bend with apples the trees, swell the gourd
and plump the hazel shells". This is a picture of abundance and of the fruits of
hard work.
Personification of Content Heart: In stanza II, Keats uses personification to
describe autumn (thought, by some critics, to be represented as a goddess) in the
forms of humans at various tasks. The softness of autumn is echoed in a grainer's
hair "soft-lifted by the winnowing wind". The next example, of a reaper asleep at
the task "while thy hook/ Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers", makes
reference to living creatures being "spared" death. The passage of time, always at
the forefront of Keats' mind, is referred to as the worker at a cider-press watches
"the last oozings, hours by hours". This image could be seen as evoking the last
moments before winter, or even death, arrives.

The Music of Autumn: By asking the rhetorical questions Where are the songs of
Spring? Ay, where are they? in the opening of stanza III, Keats leads the reader to
briefly think of the arguably fairer season. But he ultimately argues that thou
[autumn] hast thy music too. The "music" he describes is not always
straightforwardly happy. Gnats "mourn" in "a wailful choir" and their numbers sink
or float depending on whether "the light wind lives or dies". Keats' imagery echoes
both the death of the season and physical mortality. Keats assures us, however,
that winter has not come yet, and that the world is still very much vital as
"gathering swallows twitter in the skies" in anticipation of their migration. He seems
here to favor equanimity in the face of mortality, encouraging the readers to savor
rich autumn for as long as they can.

Conclusion: The season is a mellow beauty with sights and sounds unique to
itself which fills all the five senses of a person with heightened pleasure. The last
line in the poem which says about gathering swallows in the sky epitomizes the
fact that certain changes are imminent in life. One cannot help but accept the
inevitable losses and be content with them. Autumn justifies and rightly illuminates
the thoughts of Keats.
Q3. Critically comment upon the use of images in Keats Ode to Autumn.

Introduction: Keats was known as a sensuous poet. His poems are marked for
the employment of vivid images. His odes are a treat to senses. Ode to Autumn,
the last of the ode written by Keats is loaded with images. The details of it is
discussed in detail below.

The Imagery in the First Stanza: Autumn, accordingly, is described as a season


of mellow fruitfulness. The sun is ripening or maturing the earth, conspiring to
load the vines and bend the apple trees, to swell the gourd, and plump the hazel
shells. The season fills all fruit with ripeness to the core. These images of full,
inward ripeness and strain suggest that the maturing can go no further, that the
fulfilment has reached its climax. Even the cells of the bees are over-brimmed. Yet
the ripening continues, budding more, and still more, later flowers. The bees
think warm days will never cease.

The Imagery in the Second Stanza: The second stanza picks up and continues
imagery of arrested motion in the first. Autumn is here personified in a variety of
attitudes. The dominant image is of autumn as the harvesterand a harvester that
is in a sense another reaper, death itself. Instead of harvesting, however, autumn is
motionless, death being momentarily held off as the ripening still continues. First
autumn appears sitting careless on a granary floor. The granary is where the
harvest would be stored, but autumn is not bringing in the grain. The assonance
and alliteration of the line, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind, leads into
the image of autumn feeling drowsy or sleepy on a half-reaped furrow. Finally
autumn is seen near a cider-press where it watches the last oozings hours by
hours. The motion is so slow that the reader takes the cider-press almost as a
repetition of the half-reaped furrow. The notion of death is present but it will
emerge more emphatically in the third stanza.
The Imagery in the Last Stanza: Things reveal their essential identity most
intensely at the moment if dying or readiness to die. As the day comes to an end it
also marks blooming of all flowers. The stanza proceeds with images of death or
withdrawal, and of song, and the songs are a funeral dirge for the dying year.
Death is here recognized as something inherent in the course of things, the
condition and price of all fulfilment.

Conclusion: The ode is thus a poem of contemplation. The symbol of autumn


compels that attitude. The poets own fears, ambitions and passions are not
directly engaged, and hence he can be relatively withdrawn. The poet seems to
suggest that life in all its stages has a certain identity and beauty which man can
appreciate by disengaging his own ego. Thus the symbol permits, and the poem as
a whole expresses, an emotional reconciliation to the human experience of
process.