John Keats

(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821 / London, England)

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 moss'd 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 o'er-brimm'd 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-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd 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.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Veteran Poet - 4,404 Points Leonard Wilson (3/24/2010 12:08:00 PM)

    This is the mature Keats at his very best. During this brief final period, he produced some of the most beautiful poems in the English language: the magnificent odes: Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode on Melancholy, and especially To Autumn and Ode to a Nightingale, along with the sonnets When I Have Fears and Bright Star, and the splendid long narrative poem The Eve of St. Agnes. In such a very short time, he developed the brilliant diction that not only conveys the ideas, but also the sounds and the feelings and the connotations that make him perhaps the greatest lyricist in all of literature.

    To Autumn captures the sights, sounds, feeling, activities-all the sensations of this beautiful season. Of course, the poet was quite aware that, as young as he was, he was already in the autumn of his own life. If he had not died at the age of 25, how many more such awe-inspiring works might he have bestowed upon us? (Report) Reply

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