BSEB Class 12 English Poem 4 Ode To Autumn Summary, Explanation, and Question Answers from Rainbow Book  

Ode To Autumn – BSEB Class 12 English Poem 4 Ode To Autumn Summary and detailed explanation of the poem along with meanings of difficult words from Rainbow Book. Also, the explanation is followed by the literary devices used in the Poem. All the exercises and Ode to Autumn Question Answers given at the back of the lesson have also been solved.

 

BSEB Class 12 English Rainbow Book Poem 4 – Ode To Autumn

By John Keats

 

 
 

Ode To Autumn Introduction

 

In the poem ‘Ode To Autumn’ Keats describes the beauty and characteristic spirit of autumn in a series of memorable pictures, exhibiting the principle of beauty in nature. 

 
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Ode To Autumn Summary

In the first stanza of the poem the poet talked about autumn, the season associated with mists and a general sense of calm abundance. Autumn was an intimate friend of the sun, whose heat and light helped all the fruits and vegetables to grow. Autumn was scheming with the sun to put on and bless with fruit, the vines that were running around the roof. Thatch was reeds or some other plant that was used as roof covering. The apples were bending the branches of the trees they were growing on and were covered with moss, the thick green stuff that can grow on almost anything. The fruit was filled with ripeness to the core by which the poet meant that the fruit had grown to its fullest size and needed to be harvested. The gourd became big and full and hazel shells grew fat with a sweet nut inside. The flowers were growing new buds and kept growing more, and when these buds bloomed, bees gathered around the flowers’ pollen. Those bees thought that the warmth would last forever, because summer brought so many flowers and so much pollen that the beehives were now overflowing with honey.

In the second stanza of the poem, the poet asked a question to the Autumn season that who had not noticed it. Further he explained that any person who found themselves wandering about 

how to find the Autumn season, was likely to find it sitting lazily on the floor of a building where grains were stored. The poet talked about the season’s hair being lifted by a light wind that separated the strands of the hair by which he meant how a harvester might separate the components of a grain of wheat. Autumn was asleep with the toxic smell of poppies in her nose. Therefore the next section of a long strip of land on which crops had been cut and the twisted flowers would be saved from being cut. Sometimes, Autumn was like the agricultural laborer who picked up loose cuttings from the fields after the harvest. Autumn had gleaned lots of leftovers and put them on her head. So the poet had described the Autumn season as a laborer, who had to be observant, who watched the stream with a full, heavy head of fruit and leaves. Other times Autumn would watch the cyder-press noting how the juice and pulp slowly oozed out of the machine over the course of many hours. 

In the last stanza of the poem, the poet expressed sadness that spring was not here. He asked where the music that characterizes spring and he repeated himself where it was by asking a question. The poet suggested not to think about the spring and its typical music as autumn had its own music. The poet described the background for the music as a scene in which beautiful, shadowed clouds expanded in the evening sky and filtered the sunlight such that it casted pink upon the fields, which had been harvested. The music included gnats, which hummed mournfully in a chorus among the willows that grew along the riverbanks, and which rose and fell according to the strength of the wind. They were mourning because of the dying day and also as the end of the summer was approaching. The poet also described that there were mature, fully grown lambs who were making loud sounds from the fence of their hilly enclosure. It included  crickets singing in the bushes and a red-breasted bird that softly whistled from a small garden. And lastly, it included the growing flock of swallows, which rose and sang together against the darkening sky.
 
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Video Explanation of Ode To Autumn

 

 
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Ode To Autumn Explanation

 

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-eaves run;

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

And fill all fruit with ripness 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 o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Mists- a cloud of tiny water droplets 

Mellow- soft and sweet in taste

Fruitfulness- abundance

Bosom-friend- a very close or intimate friend

Conspiring- scheming

Vines- climbing plants whose fruit is the grape

Thatch-eaves- a sheltering cover such as a house roof made of such material

Gourd- a kind of vegetable or fruit that swells up like balloons. Cucumbers belong to the gourd family, as well as pumpkins and melons.

Plump- make fleshy or fat

Hazel- small trees that produce small nuts

Kernel- seed, core

o’er brimm’d- filled so much that some spills over

In the poem “Ode To Autumn” the poet John Keats has talked about the autumn season. He has explained how Autumn was considered as the season of mist (fog) when the clouds were hanging low and there was a mellow fruitfulness of fruit and juice, or in more general terms, there was a lot of everything. By fruitfulness the poet meant that everything was fertile and productive, so there was the idea that more could be produced; the land brought forth plenty of fruit and it was not a problem to produce even more. So Autumn was the season associated with mists and a general sense of calm abundance. The season was also an intimate friend of the sun, whose heat and light helped all those fruits and vegetables to grow on the vines that were wrapped around the roof edges of the farmhouses. Autumn was scheming with the Sun to put on and bless with fruit, the vines that were running around the roof. Thatch was reeds or some other plant that was used as roof covering. The apples were bending the branches of the trees they were growing on and were covered with moss, the thick and low green stuff that can grow on almost anything. The fruit was filled with ripeness to the core by which the poet meant that the fruit had grown to its fullest size and needed to be harvested. The gourd became big and full and hazel shells grew fat with a sweet nut inside. The flowers were growing new buds and kept growing more, and when these buds bloomed, bees gathered around the flowers’ pollen. Those bees thought that the warmth would last forever, because summer brought so many flowers and so much pollen that the beehives were now overflowing with honey. Summer had made the nuts and flowers and all the harvest of summer kept growing until it bursted.

 

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-reap’d 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 watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Granary- store-house for grain

Winnowing- blowing a current of air to remove its outer covering

Swath- a long strip of land on which crops have been cut

Gleaner- one who collects or gathers

Cyder-press- a device that squeezes the juice out of apples, to make wine

In the second stanza of the poem, the poet asked a question to the Autumn season: who had not noticed you. Further he explained that any person who found themselves wandering about 

how to find the Autumn season, was likely to find it sitting lazily on the floor of the building where grains were stored. The poet talked about the season’s hair being lifted by a light wind that separated the strands of the hair by which he meant how a harvester might separate the components of a grain of wheat. Autumn could be found outside in a field and anyone who might find the autumn season, it would be found asleep in the fields in a good deep sleep, on an incompletely harvested crop row, fatigued because of the sleep-inducing aroma of the poppies. Autumn was asleep with the toxic smell of poppies in her nose. Poppies were those red flowers from which opium and other drugs were made. Therefore the next section of a long strip of land on which crops had been cut and the twisted flowers would be saved from being cut. Sometimes, Autumn was like the agricultural laborer who picked up loose cuttings from the fields after the harvest. Autumn had gleaned lots of leftovers and put them on her head. So the poet had described the Autumn season as a laborer, who had to be observant, who watched the stream with a full, heavy head of fruit and leaves. Other times Autumn would watch the cyder-press (cyder-press was a device that squeezes the juice out of apples, to make wine) noting how the juice and pulp slowly oozed out of the machine over the course of many 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. 

Choir- chorus

Gnats- a small fly with two wings that bite

Sallows- of an unhealthy yellow colour

Bourn- domain, land

Hedge-cricket- brown green pink insect which makes shrill noise in the bush 

Redbreast- a bird called robin

Ripeness- ready to be gathered 

In the last stanza of the poem, the poet expressed sadness that spring was not here. He asked where the music that characterizes spring was and he repeated himself where it was by asking a question. The poet suggested not to think about the spring and its typical music as autumn had its own music. The poet described the background for the music as a scene in which beautiful, shadowed clouds expanded in the evening sky and filtered the sunlight such that it casted pink upon the fields, which had been harvested. The music included gnats, which hummed mournfully in a chorus among the willows that grew along the riverbanks, and which rose and fell according to the strength of the wind. They were mourning because of the dying day and also because the end of the summer was approaching. The poet also described that there were mature, fully grown lambs who were making loud sounds from the fence of their hilly enclosure. It included  crickets singing in the bushes and a red-breasted bird that softly whistled from a small garden. And lastly, it included the growing flock of swallows, which rose and sang together against the darkening sky.

 

Poetic/Literary Devices

 

Following poetic/literary devices have been used in the poem Ode To Autumn :

  1. Rhetorical Question: Rhetorical question is often used to make a point and not to receive an answer. The poet has posed rhetorical questions in the second and third stanzas to emphasize his point such as, “Where are the songs of spring?”
  2. Imagery: The use of imagery makes the reader visualize the writer’s feelings and emotions. Keats’s imagery evokes the perceptions of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and For instance, in the first stanza, he uses visual imagery such as thatch-eyed”; “mossed cottage-trees”; the granary floor”; “plump the hazel shells” and “full-grown lambs.” There is also olfactory (sense of smell) imagery in the second stanza such as, “fume of poppies” and “sweet kernel.” Tactile imagery is used in the last stanzas such as, “clammy cells” and “winnowing wind.”
  3. Personification: Personification is to give human characteristics to nonhuman things. Keats has used personification in the opening lines of the poem:“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;” He personifies the autumn season and the sun by calling them friends as if these abstract things are humans with intimate relations.
  4. Apostrophe: An apostrophe is a device used to call somebody from afar. The poet has used this device in the twelfth line where it is stated as “Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store.” In this line, the poet directly addresses the imaginary character “autumn”.
  5. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. Keats has used a lot of symbols in this poem such as “Autumn” symbolizes the women and “the sun” symbolically stands for a male. Similarly, “gathering swallows” symbolizes the end of autumn.
  6. Simile: A simile is a figure of speech used to compare an object, animal or person with another object or person or animals to make its meaning clear. Keats has used simile in the nineteenth line, “And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep.” Here, he compares autumn with a person who gathers the remaining food from the field.
  7. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, ‘o’ sound in “Among the river sallows, borne aloft.”
  8. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of ‘t’ in “And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue” and ‘s’ sound in “Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers.”
  9. Onomatopoeia – whistles, twitter
  10. Rhyme scheme – ababcdedcce, ababcdecdde, ababcdecdde

 
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Ode To Autumn Question and Answer

Exercise

 

B.1. 1. Complete the following sentences on the basis of the poem:

  1. a) …………. is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
  2. b) …………. fill all fruits with ripeness.
  3. c) ………………. sits carelessly on a granary floor.
  4. d) The ‘winnowing wind’ softly lifts the hair of …………
  5. e)  ………… twitter in the sky. 

 

Answer-

  1. a) Autumn is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
  2. b) And fill all fruits with ripeness.
  3. c) He sits carelessly on a granary floor.
  4. d) The ‘winnowing wind’ softly lifts the hair of the poet.
  5. e) And gathering swallows twitter in the sky.  

 

B.1 2. Answer the following questions briefly:

1) Who are depicted as friends in the first two lines?

Answer-

The maturing sun and the autumn season are depicted as friends in the first two lines.

 

2) What happens in autumn?

Answer-

According to the poet  ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, autumn is a season famous for its harvest times, turning leaves, cooling temperatures and darkening nights. In Autumn, all fruits get ripe and flowers bloom. All the birds start to sing to see the sweetness of the season.

 

3) In what sense does the Sun conspire with autumn?

Answer-

Autumn was an intimate friend of the sun, whose heat and light helped all these fruits and vegetables to grow. The sun conspires with autumn to put on and bless with fruit, the vines that were running around the roof offering fruits and flowers. Its ray makes the fruit fleshy and fat and also tasty.

 

4) How do the sun and summer help in ripeness of fruits in autumn?

Answer-

The sun and summer help in the ripeness of fruits to make them fleshy or fat in autumn. They fill the fruits with plenty of  heat and energy so that the fruits can grow to their fullest size and can be harvested.

 

5) How are autumn and summer related to spring? 

Answer-

Autumn and summer are related to spring because spring comes before the arrival of summer and Autumn starts with the departure of the summer season.

 

C.1. LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS

  1. What is the central idea of the poem?

Answer-

The central theme of the poem, An ode to Autumn, written by John Keats  is about the beauty of autumn season. The poet describes the poem in its three stanzas, the three different aspects of the season which are its fruitfulness, its labour and its ultimate decline. Through the stanzas there is a progression from early autumn to mid autumn and then to the heralding of winter. The poet expresses his love for nature, beauty, imagination through beautiful sensuous imagery. The poet describes how nature is related to man, what changes time brings to the autumn season, the aesthetics that are visible during autumn, how it transforms from summer and later transforms to winter.

 

  1. What does Keats mean by the following: 

‘T was here we loved in

Summer day and greener.’

Answer-

‘’T was here we loved in Summer day and greener.’ By these lines the poet means that he loves the wind that blows in summer and helps the fruits to ripe and grow. He was a poet of Nature. He found happiness, solace, and peace of mind in everything of Nature. He calls it his favorable wind. He finds the greenery in autumn very impressive and attractive. It gives a positive aspect to him.  

 

  1. Does the poet convey his love to Nature through such lines as given above? It yes, give examples

Answer-

Yes, the poet conveys his love of nature through the lines in his poem. The example of the lines through which he expressed his love to Nature is-  “For summer has ‘O’er brimmed their clammy cells. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever Seeks abroad may find it.” The poet shows his love through nature. It always helps him to convey love.  He found happiness, solace, and peace of mind in everything of Nature. He finds the greenery in autumn very impressive and attractive. It gives a positive aspect to him.  

 

  1. Pick out the images related to different aspects of Nature. Write a note on the use of images in the poem.

Answer-

 In this poem, images have been well used which makes the poem and the idea present in it, quite clear. The poet says that Autumn spreads beauty and happiness everywhere. It seems to be a carrier of harmony. According to the poet  ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, autumn is a season famous for its harvest times, turning leaves, cooling temperatures and darkening nights. In Autumn, all fruits get ripe and flowers bloom. All the birds start to sing to see the sweetness of the season.

 

  1. What do autumn and spring symbolise in the poem? Explain.

Answer-

Autumn and spring both the seasons are good for fruits like mellow and plump. It fills all fruit with ripeness to the core . Autumn and summer are related to spring. It comes before the arrival of summer. Autumn starts with the departure of the summer season. The fact that he did choose autumn to write an ode to emphasizes his thoughts on impending death because autumn is a time of death and change for nature. It is part of the cycle that is most beautiful when everything is bare and life gets a chance to start over. It is the feeling of loss and then harvesting out of grief.

 

  1. Do you like this poem? Give two reasons.

Answer-

Yes, I like this poem. The reasons why I like this poem are as follows-

  1. The season of autumn  is one of life’s pleasures, and Keats describes autumn with vivid imagery. It shows a good relationship between the two seasons and also shows how these seasons are dependent on each other. 
  2. He also tells the reader to let go of spring and let the sights, smells, and changes in nature advance. And, he explains how summer is coming to an end.

 

  1. What does the poet say about the music of autumn? Do you like this music? 

 Answer-

The poet described the background for the music of autumn as a scene in which beautiful, shadowed clouds expanded in the evening sky and filtered the sunlight such that it casted pink upon the fields, which had been harvested. The music included gnats, which hummed mournfully in a chorus among the willows that grew along the riverbanks, and which rose and fell according to the strength of the wind. They were mourning because of the dying day and also as the end of the summer was approaching. The poet also described that there were mature, fully grown lambs who were making loud sounds from the fence of their hilly enclosure. It included  crickets singing in the bushes and a red-breasted bird that softly whistled from a small garden. And lastly, it included the growing flock of swallows, which rose and sang together against the darkening sky.

Yes, I like this music. 

 

C.3. COMPOSITION

Write a paragraph in about 100 words on the following:

a) Autumn

Answer-

​​Autumn is one of the lesser-known seasons in India as it overlaps with the late monsoon and the beginning of winter. In the higher latitudes, it is popularly known as “fall,” as it is a distinct season in the north where trees begin shedding their leaves in preparation for winter. Also, this season is a very moderate season where we can survive easily since it is neither too cold nor too hot. Therefore, this climate soothes everyone. By the onset of autumn, the days start becoming shorter and the nights longer. It is also a busy season for farmers as it is the last opportunity to grow and harvest many crops before frost starts setting in. Many festivals are held during this season which symbolizes the year coming to an end. Autumn is a favourite season for many as it is literally and symbolically beautiful.

 

b) Relation between seasons and human life. 

Answer-

Seasons are a very important element in our lives. They have an influence on what we wear, what we eat and what we do in our free time. They also affect the mood we are in. We have a number of seasons-spring, winter, autumn, summer and rainy. Lifetime is a natural cycle, we are born, we grow up and die. It can be compared to seasons of nature. Spring is associated with beauty and freshness. Summer is the symbol of heat and struggle. Winter is a cool and gloomy time. Rainy season brings beauty-greenness as well as destruction. Autumn is symbolic of plenty, ripening, harvest, and abundance; and, at the same time, a symbol of decay, decline, old age, and even death, with associations of things being past their prime. As the seasons change, they bring an impact on the people.

 

D.WORD STUDY

D.1. Dictionary Use

Ex.1. Look up a dictionary and write two meanings of the following words – the one in which it is used in the lesson and the other which is more common

 

fruitfulness bosom maturing conspiring
steady plains  sinking swallows 

 

Answer-

 

Fruitfulness-

  1. Fertile
  2. Advantageous
Bosom-

  1. Bust
  2. Chest
Maturing

  1. Fully grown
  2. Developed
Conspiring

  1. Scheme
  2. Plan
Steady

  1. Slow
  2. Leisurely
plains 

  1. Grassland
  2. flatland
Sinking

  1. Drop
  2. Fall
Swallows 

  1. Consume
  2. Eat

 

D.2. Word-formation

Read the following line carefully:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

 

In the above line, ‘fruitfulness’ is derived from fruit. When ‘-ful’ is added to fruit, it becomes fruitful. Again, when ‘-ness’ is added to fruitful, it becomes fruitfulness.

Make words by adding ‘-ful- or ‘-ness’ to the following words;

 

happy beauty  kind  bounty joy duty

Answer-

 

Happy- Happiness Beauty-

Beautiful 

Kind-

Kindness

Bounty-

Bountiful

Joy-

Joyful

Duty-

Dutiful

 

D.3. Word-meaning

Ex. 1. Match the words in Column A with their meaning in Column B: 

 

Column A Column B
mist storage for grains
kernel emission
granary colour 
laden core
oozing loaded
hue fog

 

Answer-

 

Column A Column B
mist fog
kernel core
granary storage for grains
laden loaded
oozing emission
hue colour