Keats' Poems and Letters


" think not of them , thou hast thy music too."

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By asking the rhetorical questions “Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?” (23) in the opening of stanza III, Keats leads the reader to briefly think of the arguably fairer season. But he ultimately argues that “thou [autumn] hast thy music too” (24). The "music" he describes is not always straightforwardly happy. Gnats "mourn" in "a wailful choir" (27) and their numbers sink or float depending on whether "the light wind lives or dies" (29). (Again, Keats' imagery echoes both the death of the season and physical mortality.) Keats assures us, however, that winter has not come yet, and that the world is still very much vital as "gathering swallows twitter in the skies" (33) in anticipation of their migration. He seems here to favor equanimity in the face of mortality, encouraging the readers to savor rich autumn for as long as they can.