Critical Appreciation of The Poem Ode to Autumn
Attempt a critical appreciation of Ode to Autumn.
About John Keats, it is said that if he had been content with only his odes he would have been acclaimed a great poet. This opinion is true as it is the judgement of a poet on the basis of creativity and not on the basis of out put. Ode to Autumn justifies the praise showered on Keats. Autumn is nowhere considered beautitul – being a season in which trees shed their leaves it has no romantic image it is identified generally with old age, chequered movement and depression.
Known for his devotion to the principle of beauty keats, in this poem, has taken up a utilitanian stand. In the beauty of autumn, in its oneness with agriculturists and farm workers keats sees a concern for practical usefulness and health in the human and natural world which only a day-dreamer can overlook.
To Keats autumn is a season of mellowing and of gradual ripening of fruits. This actually discovery of a nourishing principle in nature – She by a serious purpose of providing such fruits and grains that nourish the health of men and women. Like a true observer of details Keats even names them – during autumn apples are in full bloom, vines are laden with fruits, small buds are abundantly growing. More activity can be noticed in the village people can be seen around gramaries, swaths engaged in winnowing or glancing.
One is reminded of the festivities of spring – its music and plentifulness. Autumn has however its own atmosphere and music. This atmosphere is set by a landscape of ripening fruits, human labour and by the sky over-cast with little dots of clouds; the music is composed of the waiting sound of gnats, the loud bleatings of full-grown lambs, the singing of crickets in hedges and the soft whistling sound of robins.
There is thus enough cheerful music to sway the heart of the listencers. The poem is remarkable in its power of catching the spirit of the autumn season. Keats has loaded the poem with very accurate details of nature and human action. For the first time he seems to be building up a poem from facts as we find in Wordsworth.
The three stanzas reveal the bounty of autumn, the scenery of autumn, and its pensive music with the rarest economy of words and every picture has a definite clearness of outline not to be found in any romantic poet. The warmth of stubble-plains, the rich glow of the setting sun illumining the bus of clouds, the golden apples, the flowers full of honey – there scenes have filled the poet’s soul with peace and quiet.