3. CRITICAL APPRECIATION
Its Faultless Construction
This is the most faultless of Keats’s odes in point of construction. The first stanza gives us the bounty of Autumn, the second describes the occupations of the season, and the last dwells upon its sounds. Indeed, the poem is a complete and concrete picture of Autumn, “the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. Its Sensuousness
The bounty of Autumn has been described with all its sensuous appeal. The vines suggesting grapes, the apples, the gourds, the hazels with their sweet kernel, the bees suggesting honey—all these appeal to our senses of taste and smell. The whole landscape is made to appear fresh and scented. There is great concentration in each line of the first stanza. Each line is like the branch of a fruit-tree laden with fruit to the breaking-point. Its Vivid Imagery
The second stanza contains some of the most vivid pictures in English poetry. Keats’s pictorial quality is here seen at its best. Autumn is personified and presented to us in the figure of the winnower, “sitting careless on a granary floor”, the reaper “on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep”, the gleaner keeping “steady thy laden head across a brook”, and a spectator watching with patient look a cider-press and the last oozings therefrom. The reaper, the winnower, the gleaner, and the cider-presser symbolise Autumn. These pictures make the poem human and universal because the eternal labours of man are brought before the eyes of the reader. The Poet’s Keen Observation of Nature
The third stanza is a collection of the varied sounds of Autumn—the choir of gnats, the bleating of lambs, the singing of crickets, the whistling of red-breasts, and the twittering of swallows. Keats’s interest in small and homely creatures is fully evidenced in these lines. The whole poem demonstrates Keats’s interest in Nature and his keen and minute observation of natural sights and sounds. Keats’s responsiveness and sensitivity to natural phenomena is...
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