The following sample essay on Four Seasons Essay discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.
Look at the structure of each poem as well as its use of language, and show how the poems not only describe the seasons but also convey its mood. As you write indicate your response to the words and ideas in the poems, and at the end say which poem you prefer, giving your reasons.
I am going to tell you about three different poems I have chosen which I feel best portray the seasons. I have chosen ‘Spring’ by G. M Hopkins, ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats and ‘Skating’ from ‘The Prelude’ by William Wordsworth.
The poem ‘Spring’ by G. M Hopkins is a very happy and joyful poem and full of life. In the very first line, Hopkins refers to Spring as the most attractive season of them all, telling us: ‘Nothing is so beautiful as Spring’ (Line 1).
He carries on creating a buoyant and cheerful atmosphere by using words and phrases such as the alliterative phrases ‘long and lovely and lush’ (Line 2) and ‘With richness, the racing lambs too have fair their fling’ (Line 8).
In the first stanza, Hopkins uses imagery with phrases such as ‘weeds in wheels’ (Line 2) and ‘The glassy pear tree leaves and blooms’ (Line 6), which gives the reader pictures of Springtime. The image of ‘The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush’ (Line 7), gives the impression of being wrapped in a mixture of happy feelings and the promise of summer to come.
The poem is very continuous and uses many enjambments so that the poem can be kept at a fast flowing speed for the reader.
For example ‘Through the echoing timbre does so rinse and wring / The ear, it strikes like lighting to hear him sing’ (Line 4 / 5). When Hopkins starts his second verse he writes this alliterative question ‘What is all this juice and all this joy? ‘ (Line 9). This can be interpreted as the juice being all the new life of both animals and plants, ‘ thrush’s eggs’ (Line 3) and ‘racing lambs’ (Line 8), and the joy is in being able to see all these events happen and being part of the experience.
Hopkins uses the Garden of Eden to talk about the newness and innocence of this season. He writes ‘In Eden garden – Have, get, before it cloy, / Before it cloud, Christ, lord and sour with sinning / Innocent Minds and Mayday in girl and boy’ (Line 11 / 12 / 13), suggesting that Spring has a purity that the later seasons lack. He supports the use of spring’s innocence by using the maid’s child towards the end of the play ‘Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning. ‘ The Autumn Poem by John Keats is a very famous poem, written in 1819, two years before he died.
The poem is written in three stanzas and he has written the poem so that at the beginning it is describing the start of autumn, progressing through the poem until autumn is turning into winter. Keats begins the poem with alliterative phrases like ‘mists of mellow fruitfulness’ (Line 1), using soft consonants and extended vowels to give an atmosphere of relaxation and calmness. He uses the metaphor ‘Close blossom-friend of the maturing sun’ (Line 2), to produce an image of fruitfulness and fertility.
The phrase ‘Conspiring with him how to load and bless’ (Line 3) makes it seem like Autumn and the Sun are human and almost God-like. He talks about all the fruit being as ripe as they are ever going to be, all the way ‘to the core’ (Line 6) while the trees ‘bend with apples’ (Line 5). He talks about the animals and especially the bees and says ‘And still more, later flowers for the bees, / until they think warm days will never cease’ (Line 9 / 10). Keats is saying that the bees are not aware that winter is coming so they stay out still looking for more flowers.
In the second stanza he talks about the main part of autumn, describing autumn as if it was a person, starting the stanza with ‘Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? ‘ (Line 12). He gives the reader many images of autumn being a restful time, slowing down as winter approaches, using phrases such as ‘sitting careless on a granary floor’ (Line 14) and ‘on a half reap’d furrow sound asleep’ (Line 16). He uses many restful alliterative words such as ‘winnowing wind’ (Line 15) and the phrase ‘Thou watchest the last oozing hours by hours’ (Line 22) also feels like life is slowing down.
Even though he talks about this time being easy and lazy it is a very difficult and busy time for farmers, however this is not stated in the poem. Keats writes what is idealistic for him. He has again used lots of long vowels to create heaviness and slowness in the poem with phrases such as ‘Drowsed with the fume of poppies’ (Line 17) to suggest sleepiness. In the final stanza he talks about the end of autumn and the beginning of winter, talking about regret, ‘where are the songs of Spring? ‘ (Line 23).
Keats also gives the reader images of the autumn evenings, ‘soft-dying day’ (Line 25) and also ‘rosy hue’ (Line 26) which means the setting sun, which is in contrast to the mature sun of the first stanza. Keats describes images of death using words and phrases such as ‘mourn’ (Line 27), ‘sinking’ (Line 29) and also ‘the light wind lives or dies’ (Line 29) because it is the end of the summer. He uses many musical terms throughout the last stanza, such as ‘wailful choir’ (Line 27), ‘full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn’ (Line 30), ‘hedge crickets sing’ (Line 31) and ‘now with treble soft / The red-breast whistles’ (Line 31 / 32).
They are all however very soft sounds, unlike Hopkin’s Spring which was all bustling and noisy. Keats describes a robin in the poem which suggests images of the forthcoming winter, and he talks about full-grown lambs, which suggests that the cycle of the year from when they were born in spring to their full grown state in autumn is complete. In general, throughout the poem he uses few full stops making very extended sentences. This keeps the poem very lethargic, lazy and restful. The pace is kept very slow and he does this by using many caesurae.