Advancing in Poetry Advancing in Poetry    

Lesson 26: Ode to Autumn

by John Keats

Performer: Librivox - James Gladwin

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has over-brimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cider-press, with patient look,

Thou watch the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

    Advancing in Poetry Advancing in Poetry    

Lesson 26: Ode to Autumn

by John Keats

Performer: Librivox - James Gladwin


Study the poem for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read or listen to the poem.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Read about the poet.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


John Keats' 'Ode to Autumn' personifies autumn and the sun as buddies working together to grow and ripen fruit and to bloom new fall flowers for the honey bees. Autumn can be found lurking everywhere, in stores of food, on granary floors, sleeping on a furrow in a field, and watching juice seep from apples in a cider press. The narrator encourages autumn to ignore the songs of spring and focus on its own special sounds, including the hum of gnats, the bleat of sheep, and the twitter of swallows gathering for their migration south.


  1. John Keats was born in 1795 in London, England.
  2. Zoom in and find Keats' city and country of birth, London, England, on the map of Europe.
  3. Keats was the son of a stableman. His father cared for horses at an in and later managed the inn.
  4. Keats attended boarding school starting when he was 7 years old.
  5. By the time Keats was 16, he had lost both of his parents, his father falling from a horse and his mother dying of tuberculosis.
  6. Keats trained to be a doctor and received his apothecary's license, but he abandoned medicine for poetry.
  7. Keats contracted tuberculosis. On the advice of his doctors, he traveled to Rome, Italy. Despite the favorable weather, he died in Italy at the age of 25.
  8. Keats' poetry only became popular after his death.
  9. Find Keats' city and country of death, Rome, Italy, on the map of Europe.


Activity 1: Recite Poem Information

Recite the title of the poem and the name of the poet.

Activity 2: Study the Poem Picture

Study the poem picture and describe how it relates to the poem.

Activity 3: Recite the Poem

Practice reciting the poem aloud.

Activity 4: Complete Book Activities   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete pages 164-171 of 'Elementary Poetry 4: Advancing in Poetry.'


  1. 'John Keats.' Wikipedia. n.p.