As autumn reaches its peak, the speaker fondly reflects upon the harvest bounty, while recognizing that this abundance also signals the season's imminent decay. First, the speaker notices the ripe fruits and the joyful revelries surrounding him in nature: bees continue to frolic in flowers, while the flowers continue to bloom, oblivious of how little time remains until winter sets in. Then, the speaker recognizes the essence of autumn in various characters and figures, like a young man who naps on a bale of hay and a cider press as it squeezes the juice from an apple. He wonders where spring has gone, but then realizes that there is no use in comparing the seasons, and no use in mourning the season's lush greenery: autumn possesses its own poignant beauty, its own causes for celebration. The poem ends in an acceptance of time's passing and the inevitably of death: swallows "twitter" against the sky, retreating to warmer days, leaving the speaker behind.