On the Grasshopper and Cricket

Other Sonnets of John Keats


The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

December 30, 1816.



  In the poem “On the grasshopper and cricket” the beauty of nature in the ordinary of its manifestations unfolds before the reader. The poem can be divided into two parts by content (according to season) – summer and winter. Reading the lines of the first part, we recall a bright summer day, when all the birds subside and became weaker from the hot sun. Nothing is heard around, and only grasshopper is singing  over the meadows, palisades, over all the earth. Little grasshopper in its jumping and fun movement is the epitome of the nature that never freezes. And this is a living manifestation of nature the poet sees the eternal beauty. John Keats paints a picture by words that can be seen not only by means of the imagination, but which also sounds, and yet it is full of the smell of grass. Picture casts a sense of peace and harmony.

   In the second part of the verse nature appears in the winter clothes. There are also all silent, but silence is different, not like at a summer day. Frost created this silence. Everything freezes at frosty winter evening, but nature lives this time of year – it has its own voice. From the furnace sounds shrill of singing cricket, and whoever hears it, remembers the summer day and the grasshopper that hid among the grassy hills.

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