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To Autumn

To Autumn

by John Keats

Weight and Ripeness

Symbol Analysis

Autumn is the season when things fatten up and come to fruition. It is a season of harvest and abundance, one with which we associate the overflowing cornucopia. Keats tries to illustrate the incredible thickness and richness of autumn in the language of the poem. He contrasts images of lightness and heaviness, of things falling and things flying.

  • Line 3: Fruit doesn't just grow on the vines; the vines are "loaded" with fruit, the way you might "load" a shelf with heavy items.
  • Line 7: The gourd is "swollen" with ripeness and the hazel nuts are "plump" with meat.
  • Line 15: In this implicit metaphor, autumn's hair is like the light chaff that surrounds a heavy seed. On a threshing floor, the weight of the grains prevents them from being blown away in the air.
  • Line 20: Autumn's head is described as "laden," or heavy, when she crosses over the brook.
  • Line 29: The line contains a vivid image in which the gnats rise and fall in concert with the strength of the wind.

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