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To Autumn

To Autumn

by John Keats

Spring and Summer

Symbol Analysis

The poem doesn't miss the opportunity to contrast autumn with its competitors, spring and summer. (Winter gets left out in the cold – thanks, folks, we'll be here all night). Summer is great, but it has to end sometime, a fact that the bees don't seem to realize. And spring has some kickin' songs, but autumn's playlist is just as good.

  • Line 11: Silly bees, you can't hide inside those flowers forever. "Clammy cells" implies a metaphor that compares the insides of the flowers to the small, damp cells of monks or even prisoners. The warmth of summer reaches all the way inside the flowers.
  • Line 23: The speaker asks a rhetorical question to begin the third stanza, as he did with the second. He alludes to the tradition in which poets and lyricists sang to celebrate the new life of springtime. He might be thinking specifically of Ancient Greece, where the ode as a form of poetry was invented.

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