Summary and Analysis of “Ode to Autumn” by John Keats

Text of the Poem | 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 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.



Summary of Ode to autumn by John Keats

In this article, you will learn about introduction and summary of Ode to Autumn, major themes in the poem, structure, and rhyme scheme of the poem and different literary devices used in Ode to Autumn.

Introduction to the Poem

A romantic poet John Keats who is considered his final work in “Keats 1819 odes” writes Ode. This Ode was composed in September 1819 and published in the very next year, 1820. The poem is divided into 3 stanzas with eleven lines in each of it. It describes a journey through the season from late crop maturation to harvest and the last days of October as winter approaches. John Keats needed money at that time, so it is considered the previous work of his poetic career.

What Does an Ode to Autumn Mean?

The poet addresses precisely one subject in ode, mainly in the form of a song. Ode to autumn is a tribute to autumn by John Keats. Specifically, poets discuss winter or spring whenever the beauty subject comes, but Keats chooses a different matter. When the leaves fall, vegetables and fruits get ripened, beauty lies in its which most people deny or ignore—an ode to autumn specifically written to praise nature for giving us the autumn season.

Summary of Ode to Autumn

A great lover of nature and romantic poet, John Keats wrote Ode to autumn. Unlike other poets who generally discuss the characteristics and beauty of spring, Keats describes the autumn specifications. Autumn has its music, which is rare and attractive.

At the starting of the poem, the sun and autumn conspire to bless the trees with ripened fruits. The autumn is linked with the granary floor, and in the second stanza, autumn is represented as a woman by John Keats. The woman is mostly seen sitting on the granary floor, taking rest and sleeping in the fields calmly, and found in front of cider press while watching the squeezing of apple juices.

In the third stanza, autumn is told not to wonder where the spring songs have disappeared. Instead, autumn should enjoy her music. Clouds sparkle with the sunlight, and tiny gnats mourn like a blowing wind over the sallow trees. The lambs bleat from hills, cricket started to sing, and robin whistles from the garden. The poem ends with the swallows who gather and sing for their upcoming migration. 

Major Themes in Ode to Autumn

There are three main themes that John Keats supports in Ode to autumn.

  • Passage of time
  • Power of nature
  • Solace of beauty

Passage of time

New time, new life, new things, and new beauty: that is the main motive of Ode to autumn in the theme of the passage of time. Keats conveys the message not to be afraid of change, as it will bring something better than the previous. Change happens by nature which is beautiful; try to explore its beauty instead of getting disturbed.

Ode to Autumn as a Nature Poem

Nature always attracts Keats more than anything, and we can find nature theme in almost all the odes of 1819 written by him. Character is represented in vegetables, fruits, trees, flowers, and animals like insects, birds, and even lambs. Nature is powerful; it can mold anything and turn the ugliest thing into the most beautiful items.

Solace of Beauty

Beauty always gives comfort, and when you sit in the lap of nature like Keats, you will explore the true meaning of a relaxing mind. When you are tired of the miseries of this world, there is one thing that will always be here to soothe your mind and its natural beauty.

Literary devices Used in Ode to Autumn

Poets employ literary devices to better communicate their thoughts, ideas, feelings, and beliefs to the reader. Keats uses literary elements such as imagery, personification, and others to make the text interesting in Ode to a Nightingale.

Imagery in Ode to Autumn

An Ode to autumn, Keats uses imagery to help the reader understand better what he is trying to say? He uses imagery to visualize emotions and feelings to evoke smell, taste, sight, and hearing. The examples in this Ode are

  • Full-grown lambs
  • Mossed cottage trees
  • Thatch eyed
  • Granary floor
  • Fume of poppies
  • Plump the hazel shells
  • Sweet kernel

The apostrophe in Ode to autumn

It is an apostrophe that the phrase or stanza in which the poet speaks to other person or absent things. Thus, for example, in the twelfth line speaker addresses the autumn season, which is an imaginary character not present.

Personification Used in Ode to Autumn

Personification term is used in the opening of the poem in which sun and autumn season are called friends, which help ripen the fruits and vegetables. Sun and autumn are given the human quality of friend like “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” “close bosom-friend of the maturing sun.”


When two different things are given the same qualities with the symbolic meaning, symbolism is represented. For example, in the poem, autumn is symbolized as a woman and the sun as a male character; however, they are different in their literary meanings.

Rhyme Scheme and Structure of Ode to Autumn

Ode to an autumn rhyme scheme is ABAB CDECCCE. The poem consists of three stanzas different from each other’s; they are written without creating any link. Each stanza consists of eleven lines.Ode to autumn tone is lively, reveling the richness of autumn.

Ode to Autumn as a Romantic Poem

Romantic poems mainly discuss lovers and their passion, but romanticism is different when it comes to Keats. Nature is his primary subject in Ode of autumn; he creates a link between our life and nature in a romantic way. Keats uses imagery, rhythm, sound, diction, and emotional feeling towards the autumn. In this poem, he chooses to celebrate nature instead of mourning over his real-life losses, which is the natural way to live.