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John Keats: Line-by-line Analysis of “Ode to Autumn” Stanza 3

John Keats: Line-by-line Analysis of "Ode to Autumn" Stanza 3

Last stanza of “Ode to Autumn” by John Keats line by line:

1. “Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?”
– Keats begins by rhetorically questioning the absence of the songs of spring, highlighting the contrast between the vitality of spring and the quietness of autumn. This line evokes a sense of nostalgia for the vibrant energy of springtime.

2. “Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—”
– The poet reassures that despite the absence of the songs of spring, autumn has its own unique music and beauty. This line encourages the reader to focus on the present moment and appreciate the richness of autumn’s sensory experience.

3. “While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,”
– Keats describes how the clouds in the sky resemble bars as they bloom during the soft, fading light of the day. This image conveys a sense of tranquility and beauty, as well as the atmospheric quality of autumn evenings.

4. “And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;”
– The poet depicts how the clouds cast a rosy hue over the stubble-plains, adding to the visual richness of the scene. This imagery conveys a sense of warmth and softness, as well as the changing colors of autumn.

5. “Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn”
– Keats describes how the small gnats emit a mournful sound, suggesting a sense of lamentation or sadness as the season transitions. This image adds a melancholic undertone to the poem, hinting at the inevitable passage of time and the onset of winter.

6. “Among the river sallows, borne aloft”
– The poet portrays the gnats as flying among the willow trees by the river, suggesting a sense of movement and fluidity. This imagery adds to the sensory richness of the scene, as well as the interconnectedness of all living things in nature.

7. “Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;”
– Keats describes how the gnats rise and fall with the light wind, indicating their ephemeral nature and the transient quality of life. This image reinforces the theme of transience and change, as well as the cyclical rhythms of nature.

8. “And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;”
– The poet depicts the sounds of full-grown lambs bleating loudly from the hills, suggesting a sense of vitality and energy. This image evokes the pastoral landscape of autumn, as well as the cycle of life and renewal that characterizes the season.

9. “Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft”
– Keats describes how hedge-crickets sing with a soft, high-pitched sound, adding to the auditory richness of the scene. This imagery conveys a sense of harmony and serenity, as well as the tranquil beauty of autumn evenings.

10. “The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;”
– The poet mentions the red-breasted robin whistling from a garden-croft, further enhancing the pastoral atmosphere of the scene. This image adds to the sense of domesticity and warmth, as well as the intimacy of the natural world.

11. “And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.”
– Keats describes how swallows gather and twitter in the skies, suggesting a sense of movement and activity. This image conveys the migratory patterns of birds in autumn, as well as the changing dynamics of the natural world.

In this final stanza, Keats concludes “Ode to Autumn” by highlighting the sensory richness and beauty of the season, even as it transitions towards winter. Through vivid imagery and lyrical language, he invites readers to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of autumn, appreciating its unique music and atmosphere. The stanza evokes a sense of nostalgia for the passing of spring and the onset of winter, while also celebrating the present moment and the abundance of life in the autumnal landscape.

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