Ode to Autumn

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Analysis and commentary of To Autumn by John Keats

In ‘To Autumn', a superficial reading would suggest that John Keats writes about a typical day of this season, describing all kind of colourful and detailed images. But before commenting on the meaning of the poem, I will briefly talk about its structure, its type and its rhyme. The poem is an ode[1] that contains three stanzas, and each of these has eleven lines. With respect to its rhyme, ‘To Autumn' does not follow a perfect pattern. While the first stanza has an ABABCDEDCCE pattern (see the poem on the next page), the second and the third ones have an ABABCDECDDE pattern. However, it is important to say that a poetic license appears in the third stanza. The word ‘wind' (line 15) is pronounced [waind] to rhyme with ‘find'. With regard to the meaning of the poem, as I said above, the author makes an intense description of autumn at least at first sight. The first stanza begins showing this season as misty and fruitful, which, with the help of a ‘maturing sun', ripens the fruit of the vines. Next, we can see clearly a hyperbole[2]. Keats writes that a tree has so many apples that it bends (line 5), while the gourds swell and the hazel shells plumps. Finally, Keats suggests that the bees have a large amount of flowers. And these flowers did not bud in summer but now, in autumn. As a consequence, the bees are incessantly working and their honeycombs are overflowing since summer. In the second stanza, there is an evident personification[3]. The poet starts asking a rhetoric question (line 12) to autumn which now is not only a woman but a gleaner. However, this woman is apparently resting in a granary or in the landscape:

‘Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies…'

As she is not working with her hook, some flowers, that were going to be cut, remain untouchable (lines 17 and 18). Also we can see an image of her hair gently moving. The stanza ends with autumn patiently...