"Where Are The Songs Of Spring?"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Keats hails autumn as the season of fruitfulness, when the grapes that grow on the cottage wall are ripe and the apple trees are bent with their load; the gourds are swollen and the hazelnut shells are filled with sweet kernels; lateblooming flowers provide nectar for the bees, whose hives are overflowing with honey. Amidst all this plenty, Autumn himself is to be seen, perhaps on a granary floor or sound asleep on a half-reaped furrow; sometimes he is by a brook and at other times by an oozing cider press. And at this time, where are the songs of Spring? Who thinks of spring when the land is overflowing with its products? The songs should be dismissed from the mind, as they are unseasonable; Autumn, too, has his melodies: the hum of gnats along the river, the bleating of full-grown lambs, the chirp of the hedge crickets, and the soft whistle of the robin.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.