Autumn Song

Dante Rossetti


Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems--not to suffer pain?

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?


The poem is about Autumn and death, and how beautiful they are. The speaker first starts of by saying that the heart is filled with grief when the leaves begin to fall, Then the speaker's tone changes and he/she says that at the fall of the leaves, the happiest person no longer feels pain. The speaker also says that as the leave falls, death becomes a beautiful thing. Meaning as the leaves die and fall to the ground, the blend of all their colours is pretty and even though the leaves are dead, they are still beautiful to look at. The speaker is not only talking about the death of leaves, but about death in general.The speaker feels as if when people die, even the happiest person will not suffer from pain or anything else any more
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The poem consists of 3 stanzas with five lines In each. The sentences are quite simple but have deeper meanings to them. Some sentences are arranged in the usual noun verb order while others are not. Some of the sentences are not in the usual noun verb order because the poem is quite old and it uses early modern English. The poem consists of enjambments and end-stopped lines. The poem also have pauses in the middle of the poetic line. Like the one in the second paragraph where the speaker says "Of joy seems--not to suffer pain?" I think the poet decided to pause here to really emphasize that no one suffers from pain once they are dead. The poem begins each stanza by asking a question, which he later answers. The poem circles around the same idea that Autumn makes death look attractive.


The language of the poem is formal with some early modern English words. Words that stood out to me were "comely" and "dried sheaf". These words stood out to me because they caused a shift in mood. First the speaker says that as the leaves fall, the souls feels dry and lifeless, ready to be harvested. Then the speaker later on says that death becomes a beautiful things as leaves fall in Autumn. The poet uses a simile in the third stanza where he says "How the soul feels like a dried sheaf, bound up at length for harvesting". In this simile, the poet compares the soul to wheat. By using this simile, the poet is trying to say that when Autumn comes, everything thing begins to die and like wheat, the soul gets ready to be harvested.
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Musical devices

The rhyme scheme of the poem is AABBA and it stays the same through out the entire poem, which gives it a musical effect. The rhythm or meter of the poem is stressed then unstressed. In the poem, the line " In Autumn at the fall of the leaf" is constantly repeated. This repetition occurs in order to emphasize Autumn and how the leaves fall. After all, the poem is about the beauty of Autumn.


The poem does not tell a story. It is more of a poem that expresses the speakers emotions. The tone of the poem is calm and enthralled. The speaker is enthralled with the beauty of Autumn and the idea that peace can be achieved through death. The speaker of the poem is unknown but we can tell that he/she likes Autumn. The audience is the reader. The speaker of the poem is trying to present his/her view of Autumn to the reader.
Autumn Leaves by Ed Sheeran

Similar to the Poem


This song by Ed Sheeran relates to the poem by Dante because both Dante and Ed view Autumn as a time where things die. However, the song is different from the poem. In the poem, Dante views autumn and the death it brings as a positive thing. in the poem, the speaker says "And how death seems a comely thing" in the last two couplets of the poem. Comely means to be pleasant or attractive. The speaker in the poem feels that when Autumn comes, death becomes an attractive thing. In the song however, death is not viewed as a beautiful thing. In the song, the narrator says, " Another life that's gone to waste". Unlike the speaker of the poem, the narrator of the song is sad because his/her lover died and left him/her alone. Because of this the narrator has a deep hatred of death.

Works Cited

""Autumn Leaves" Lyrics." ED SHEERAN LYRICS. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.

Hunter, Dante. "Autumn Song Poem. 8 Apr. 2010. Web. 7 Mar. 2015