Keats’s equates pain with pleasure here. In ‘Ode on Melancholy’, beauty must die; joy bids adieu; pleasure turns to poison; “aching pleasure” is a Keatsian oxymoron showing melancholy will be experienced at times. Reference to the human world is significant because it helps emphasise the importance of the natural world. There are references to mythological creatures such as Prosperine and Psyche, even though these goddesses were beautiful and somewhat joyous they still had to face times of sorrow and depression in order to truly live. Psyche represents the human soul, to love and lose.
Prosperine was the goddess of the underworld, spending six months of every year in the underworld with Hades. Melancholy is also personified in stanza three, as a goddess to show the opposition of joy and sorrow. Beauty, Joy and Pleasure show Keats’ emotions and feelings. These are the positive aspects of life. He is explaining at times everyone will feel like this, you can’t be sad and emotional all the time but you also can’t be “Beautiful” and “Joyous” no matter how hard you try as this does not follow nature’s course. Both of these odes show nature to be some what perfect at peak times.
‘Ode to Melancholy’ describes flowers, uses colour imagery and at points enforces its beauty. ‘Ode to Autumn’ emphasizes the bees and flowers and all ripeness this season brings nature, which brings out positive connotations. The season of autumn seems almost relaxed and at one with the poet. Within ‘Ode on Melancholy’ there are a lot of references to death as well as dark imagery at the start of the ode as melancholy is at its peak here. “Wakeful anguish of the soul” begins a turning point in life, showing joy can arise at any moment, not everything has to remain melancholic.
‘Ode to Autumn’ also refers to the idea of death, the death of autumn. “Soft dying day” shows the changes in seasons as winter arises. Showing nature does not last forever, perfection is sometimes lost. The idea of showing nature has to take its course in order for you to live. When the beautiful season of autumn comes to an end his mood turns to melancholy which associates well with ideas portrayed in ‘Ode on Melancholy. ‘ ‘Ode to Autumn’ concentrates mainly on one season and aspect of nature’s role while, ‘Ode on Melancholy’ focuses more on nature’s cycle as a whole.
In ‘Ode on Melancholy’ nature is contrasted with joy and sadness, the emotions in life. In both these poems Keats accepts the natural world, with its mixture of ripening, fulfillment, dying and death. ‘Ode to Autumn’ heavily regards nature and the changes made within the natural world. The ode progresses as nature and the season of autumn continues. The concrete imagery and rich use of language Keats uses enables the reader to witness the sights, sounds and touch of autumn and its progression. The idea of “fruitfulness” and “hedge-crickets sing” add an effective feeling to this poem.
The idea of the senses is used indirectly. The poem begins with describing the beginning of autumn fruit is ripening; the sun is “maturing” showing great intensity within this ode. The idea of great abundance is portrayed in ‘Ode to Autumn’ and seems to be overwhelming. Keats uses language such as, “plump”, “swell” and “budding” to show abundance but also has made the stanzas of the ode eleven lines long rather than ten which creates the idea of overflowing, blossoming and maturing nature. His use of structure is able to give the poem more creative meaning.
The mutability is autumn is shown throughout this ode within the process of time. The second stanza of the poem focuses on high autumn while in the final stanza autumn is coming to a close and winter is being introduced. It is obvious by Keats’ expression that he does not have the same deep feelings for winter as he has for autumn. Autumn is personified as a harvester in this ode; nature seems to gain personal qualities here instead of remaining an abstraction. It creates a strong feeling of aliveness within the season itself.
Keats is exemplifying maturity, resolutions, perfection and unification of this season and himself as a poet within this time. The powerful descriptions of the season mirror his feelings as a writer. Nature is able to bring out happiness in the form of the season of autumn as Keats is able to enjoy himself. Autumn begins to slow down its cycle by the end of stanza two; there is “the last oozings” the onomatopoeia used here is also able to slow the pace of the poem down as well as showing nature’s beauty disappearing.
Nature is portrayed is several forms in this ode as there is references to “summer” in the first stanza and “spring” in the second stanza, winter is also mentioned indirectly by referring to ” red-breast whistles”. Keats blends different ideas of several seasons together to create both positive and negative effects. The reader is overall able to conclude he feels happiest at the time of autumn as it can bring together the pleasant and the unpleasant and makes them one. Nature fluctuates constantly as it has both positive and negative aspects.
All good things must come to an end and Keats shows this within the changing of seasons. Even though autumn is portrayed as a succulent and productive season, we in fact miss summer’s warmth and glow. Autumn’s produce and its mellow atmosphere are effectively shown by Keats’ use of personification, rich language and imagery. Keats is able to create a feeling of warmth and joy within the season. The natural world is exposed thoroughly throughout both odes. It is shown to be changeable and some aspects of nature will always remain transient like, seasons, rainbows and waves.
Though these can bring out beauty in nature and will eventually return. Even though many natural images are short lived showing; some emotions may be short lived too. Keats shows nature to be very important in showing how to deal with life at its worst and its best. Nature is very powerful and can affect aspects of life, such as changing melancholy to beauty and vice versa. Keats learns to accept the mutability of the natural world in ‘Ode to Autumn’ and ‘Ode on Melancholy’. He understands that melancholy will take place but also that some points in life are meant to be bright and joyous.
He uses rich language and imagery to describe the natural world and uses the ideas of the senses in ‘Ode to Autumn’ so the reader can relate to the situation and feel closely linked to nature. Even though nature is not perfect it will have its joyous, warm and fruitful times which are immensely enjoyable. However, Keats is showing both the natural world will have times of melancholy as it completes its course.