Introduction

The argument put forward by Keats in this poem is that the natural music of the earth never ceases to play through the cycle of seasons. The poem is a sonnet in which the song of the grasshopper is embodied in the octave and that of the cricket is portrayed in the sestet.

About the Poet

John Keats (1795 – 1821) was a noted poet of the English Romantic Movement. He belonged to the second generation of the Romantic poets who came after Coleridge and Wordsworth. He is known for his vivid imagery which is noted for its sensual appeal. Some of his famous works are Ode to a Nightingale, Hyperion and Isabella.

Theme

The main theme of this poem is nature. Keats talks about the poetry and beauty of nature and how it never stops, no matter the season.

Line 1 – 8

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 poet says that the poetry of earth is never dead. When all the birds are tired because of the hot sun and hide in the cooling trees, a voice will run from hedge to hedge around the newly mown grass. This voice is that of the Grasshopper. He takes the lead in summer’s luxury. There is no end to his delights even in the hot summer. When tired out with fun, he rests at ease beneath some pleasant weeds.

Line 9 – 14

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.

The poet says that the poetry of the earth never stops. On a lone winter evening when the frost has brought about a silence, the shrill sound of the Cricket’s song comes from the stove. The Cricket’s song keeps increasing in warmth and reminds us of summer even in the dreary cold of winter. To someone half lost in drowsiness, the Cricket’s song is a reminder of the Grasshopper’s summer song among some grassy hills.