chapter  3
5 Pages

To Autumn

WithWalter Jackson Bate

The last great poem, however, which John Keats was to write after concluding his revision of Hyperion constituted a complete return in both emotional and prosodic conception to the great odes of the preceding May. Rigorous structural care is once again apparent at every hand: hiatus is non-existent; medial inversion of accent occurs only once, the strict Augustan device of initial inversion of accent alone is relied upon for variety, and is employed more frequently. The rhyme-scheme of Autumn is abab and, in the first stanza, cde dcce; in the other two, cde cdde. It is true that the development of Keats during these final four months was fundamentally an intellectual and emotional rather than a strictly technical crystallization of what had long been maturing. For poetry, to Keats, despite the almost chaotic transition of mind which he had undergone since concluding the odes, still consisted above all else in the restrained but highly impassioned exercise of the five senses.