To Autumn, by John Keats

It is officially of Autumn, also called Fall.

To Autumn” is a poem written by English Romantic Poet John Keats, one of the most beloved poet during the Regency Era.  He composed this work on 19 September 1819 and published it in 1820 in a volume of Keats’s poetry that included Lamia and The Eve of Saint Agnes. “To Autumn” is his final work in a collection of poems known as Keats’s “1819 odes”.  He reportedly composed “To Autumn” after a walk near Winchester one evening in autumn. I found this gorgeous picture here.

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-eaves 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 cider-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.

The work has been interpreted as a meditation on death. Critics regard “To Autumn” as one of the most perfect short poems in the English language.The poem marked the end of his poetic career. His need for money forced him to give up the lifestyle of a poet.

About a year after “To Autumn” was published, Keats died of tuberculosis at the age of 25. Later, To Autumn became one of the most highly regarded poems in the English language.

 

 

One thought on “To Autumn, by John Keats

  1. Norma Welty says:

    What a wonderfully written poem. Thanks for sharing!

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