On the Grasshopper and Cricket - Summary



It is a fact that in his life Keats was a neglected poet. Wordsworth rejected him as a pagan. Shelley called him Greek. But Leigh Hunt only could see a great poet in him. Quite sometime after his death, slowly the interest in is works grew.

Arnold found in him an ideal poetic character. The critics the last part of the nineteenth century like Pater, wild, and Symons saw in him a pure poet. The Georgian poets parse him for his appreciation of the beauties of the imaginative world. The modern poets praise him for having extended the possibilities of English language and bounds of subjective experience. Keats is now a greater influence on the recent poets.

Keats's life and poetry are inseparable. Each of his poems is inspired by an intimate personal experience, yet it attains impersonality. There is a healthy integration of life and art in his poetry. With his feeling for beauty he could perceive the vital connection between beauty and truth.

"On the Grasshopper and Cricket" is a fine sonnet of Keats. Here the expresses his conviction that poetry is some how directly created in the poet's soul by nature. Every object of nature inspires the poet to create poetry.

Keats's senses were keenly alive to the beauty of natural phenomena. So he finds the music of nature as non-stop. Seasons may change. Singers may be different. But the music of earth goes on.

Summer and winter are the toughest seasons of the year. In summer it is extremely hot and in winter it is very cold. So in these two seasons there are rare sings of joy and music on earth. But here the poet points to the poetry of earth during summer and winter.

In the hot summer noon all the birds take rest under shady trees. Due to extreme heat they stop singing. Still the music of earth does not come to an end. Soon the grasshopper takes over the charge. It goes on jumping about the newly mown meadow. Its chirping sound is heard from hedge to hedge. Heat of the summer is pleasant for it. It enjoys itself by singing and jumping when it feels satisfied it takes shelter under some plant-

"He has never done

With his delights; for when tired out with fun

He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed."

The winter evening is extremely cold.' Extreme cold out side send man and animal, bird and insect to their shelter for rest. An atmosphere of silence and loneliness prevails. But even then the poetry of earth continues without a break.

The frost has driven the cricket indoors. He seeks the warmth of the stove. From the stove his shrill song comes. As he gets more and more warmth he sings louder and louder-

"when the frost

Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills

The cricket's song in warmth increasing ever."

In the mean time the human beings feel drowsy. Before the evening they have been listening to the voice of the grasshopper. Now in their drowsiness they do not find the sound of the cricket as different from that of the grasshopper. They think that the music of the grasshopper continues still.

Here Keats emphasizes the point that all music is basically the same whether it is the grasshoppers or the crickets. The music produced by different singers may be different. But they are all the expressions of joy.