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Critical Appreciation

Ode to Autumn
"To Autumn" is a poem of thirty-three lines divided into three stanzas, each consisting of eleven
lines. The first stanza presents the gift of autumn; the second stanza presents the activities of
autumn and the third stanza the sounds. Being taken as a skilled woman, she works in
collaboration with the late summer sun to present its gifts: the juicy grapes and apples, the
swelled ground, the sweet hazelnuts and the honey-filled cells of the bees. In the second stanza,
she is busy in harvesting. She is seen "sitting careless on a granary floor" while her hair is lifted
by the winnowing-wind.

Sometimes, she is also seen on a half-repeated field in deep sleep. At other time she is found to
carry on her head a bundle of gleaned crop. She is also open seen to work at a juice maker. She
remains busy with all the conventional activities of the time. The third stanza presents the songs
and sounds of woman. She does not have the music of spring. But she has her own music. Her
songs seem like a funereal dirge but they are her own.

"To Autumn" is written in the form of an ode. An ode is essentially a lyric poem addressed to
someone. The poem has been addressed to 'Autumn', the personification of season. This ode is
a private ode written on the model of the Horatian ode. It has three regular or uniform stanzas,
each consisting of eleven lines. Its lyrical quality or its music has been achieved by the use of
rhyme, onomatopoeia, alliteration and assonance. The rhyme scheme, with a little variation in
the last four lines of the first stanza, is abab cde cdde. There are several lines producing musical
effect by the use of some figures of speech.

Autumn may not have the sweet songs of spring but it has its own music. They may sound more
like funereal dirge, but they are its own music. "To Autumn", therefore is a private ode
comprising of the address to autumn, lyrical elements, and consolation for her.

"To Autumn" is well-known for its concrete imagery. The images of the poem very aptly appeal
to human senses. The first stanza mainly appeals to the sense of taste, though it also appeals to
sight. The ripe grapes and apples, gourds, hazelnuts, are concrete images and they bring water
to the mouth of the readers. Similarly, the picture of the over brimming honey comb is very vivid
and appealing to the senses of sight and taste. "To Autumn" is, thus, very rich in concrete
imagery and sensuous appeal.