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To Autumn

To Autumn is a poem written by John Keats in 1819 (published 1820).

Keats was inspired to write To Autumn after walking through the water meadows of Winchester, England in an early autumn (fall in American English) evening of 1819. There is a story that Keats could not concentrate on his work in his rented rooms because the land lady's daughter was practicing the violin. Driven to distraction, he went out behind Winchester College to walk and to think. He returned and wrote the poem straight away.

The poem has three stanzas of eleven lines describing the taste, sights and sounds of autumn.

Context

Keats died in 1821 of tuberculosis, only two years after this poem was written. These last few years of Keats' life were as productive as the autumn harvest he describes in this poem, writing some of his most important work including Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on Melancholy[?] and The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream[?]. The "wailful choir" of the gnats in the last stanza could be singing a requiem for Keats himself.

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