If "To Autumn" were merely a pretty description of the season, it wouldn't be considered a great poem. In fact, to read it as a straightforward celebration is to fall into the same trap as the bees in the first stanza:
they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Underneath the surface ...
Keats may have chosen the first two of these specific poisons because he could associate them with grapes and wine, and he may have chosen yew-berries because they look like beads. The first poison is:
Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine,
and in mythology, Medea gave Theseus a cup of wine poisoned by wolfsbane.
The second poison is
He was probably familiar with Alexander Pope's version, which was the prestigious version at the time.1 It's likely that Keats wasn't enamored with this version. He was famously critical of 18th century poets, thinking their poetry too rule-bound and stifled. He expresses some of these criticisms in the poem Sleep and Poetry:1
Could all this be forgotten? ...
No. In fact, each poem has a closer relative within the corpus of Keats's work. There's also a stronger connection between "Endymion" and one of Shelley's poems that there is between the former and "Hyperion".
Keats first used the Endymion myth in an 1816 poem, "I stood tip-toe upon a little hill". This poem uses the union of ...
TL;DR: (i) Keats’ biographer Sidney Colvin consulted Hardy, not as an expert on Keats, but rather as an expert on Lulworth Cove. (ii) Hardy (wrongly) believed that Keats had written ‘Bright Star’ at Lulworth Cove.
Keats and Severn
Keats suffered from tuberculosis, and in 1820 his doctors advised him to move abroad to a warmer climate. On 17 September 1820 he ...
Keats’ debt to Milton in these lines was well observed. But Keats was not the only poet to borrow from Milton’s description of the swan!
Borrowing from Milton
Phil Robinson discussed Milton’s swan and its many imitators in The Poets’ Birds:
It was probably Milton who first wrote (at any rate in English) that
“The swan with arched neck
Rows her state with ...
The ode is titled ‘To Autumn’, which means that it is addressed to Autumn, as if the season were a person capable of listening to the speaker. This personification is clearest in the second stanza, where the speaker directly addresses Autumn as “thee”:
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting ...
Shelley wrote, in his preface to Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, that the critique directed against Keats's poem Endymion was enough to bring about his sudden death at the age of 25:
The genius of the lamented person to whose memory I have dedicated these unworthy verses, was not less delicate and fragile than it was beautiful; and where ...
While it's true that "still" is polysemous, I have a hard time justifying a reading of "dead" or "motionless" in this context. I could just as easily justify that the bird is making bootleg whiskey. "Still" is clearly describing the manner of the bird's singing, and the bird is not dead. Indeed, the next line is "Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!"
It could mean
Would you sing if you were dead (still, motionless)?
This allusion to stillness is reinforced by the above:
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Ode to a Nightingale, verses 57 and 58 (just above the one the OP mentioned)
This is meant as a supplement to @akr's concise answer.
"Ode" derives from two Ancient Greek word for song: ἀοιδή and ᾠδή
You will note from the links that one of the entries for the first word is:
1.song, a singing, whether the art of song, Hom.; or the act of singing, song
2.the thing sung, a song, Hom., etc.
3.the subject of song, Od.
Merriam-Webster's definition of "ode" is not very useful for determining whether a specific poem is an ode: the definition is too vague and it ignores the genre's history.
The Oxford Companion to English Literature, edited by Margaret Drabble (revised edition, Oxford University Press, 1995) gives the following definition of "ode":
in ancient literature, ...
I have never thought of this line in reference to the Parthenon, and to me that makes no sense. Here's my interpretation:
The way I've always viewed this line is as saying "every high point in hardships that I must face." The poem goes on to say:
Like a sick eagle looking at the sky.
The speaker is ready to die, obviously, because of these godlike ...
The earliest version of this story appears in A New Spirit of the Age by Richard H. Horne (1844), page 196:
When somebody expressed his surprise to Shelley, that Keats, who was not very conversant with the Greek language, could write so finely and classically of their gods and goddesses, Shelley replied ‘He was a Greek.’
Horne gives no source for this ...
You need to read through the enjambed line. It might help to remove the carriage return:
And each imagined pinnacle and steep of godlike hardship tells me I must die
Further... it helps to realize that "steep" is being used here in a non-standard way, largely as a synonym for "pinnacle" (or at least, the steep sides of a mountain leading up to the ...
Still here is also an allusion to death, to being still, to no longer being alive, or moving.
"Allusion" means to refer to something without mentioning it directly, which is what poets do.
So, still here has a double meaning (a noted Keats device) of being a synonym for nonetheless, and also a reference to death.
So it seems to me, anyway.
‘To Autumn’ was first published in Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St Agnes and Other Poems (London: Taylor and Hessey, 1820) where it starts on page 137 and you can see for yourself that the first stanza of the poem ends with a full stop. The book was published in July 1820, a couple of months before Keats departed for Italy, so it seems likely that he had the ...
As an explanation, it's worth including the next few lines of the introduction as well:
What manner I mean, will be quite clear to the reader, who must soon perceive great inexperience, immaturity, and every error denoting a feverish attempt, rather than a deed accomplished. The two first books, and indeed the two last, I feel sensible are not of such ...
Lines 1–33 of ‘Endymion’ form an introduction to the story, which starts at line 34:
Therefore, ’tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The only way to understand the word ‘Therefore’ in line 34 is that lines 1–33 consist of an argument as to why Keats should be happy to tell the story of Endymion. What is this argument? Well, ...
The question asks, ‘Was Keats ever criticized for standardizing generic beauty?’ and the answer is ‘yes—indeed, he was criticized along these lines by his own fiancée, Fanny Brawne!’ The evidence for this appears in two letters from Keats to Brawne:
Why may I not speak of your Beauty, since without that I could never have lov’d you?—I cannot conceive any ...
Keats is saying that if you try to immerse yourself in objects of sadness, then you won't be as aware of your own sadness as much. Shade (sadness) will come to (existing) shade too drowsily: i.e., it will not be as noticeable. But if it comes out of the blue, it will be that much more powerful.
But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from ...
It's possible that Keats is using the adjective "tight-rooted" here to keep the tone of the first half of the poem consistent, in that tight-rooted has a connotation of being trapped and imprisoned, not free to roam the world. This is in keeping with the previous mention of the river Lethe, which was associated with lethargy in Greek mythology.