Reading Passage 4 – The Human Seasons

Keywords: Year 7-8, poetry, the Romantic period, poetic techniques, literary devices, human nature, 8 MCQs, 2 short-answer questions.

The following is a complete poem by John Keats. It’s titled ‘The Human Seasons’.

Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;
     There are four seasons in the mind of man:
He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear
     Takes in all beauty with an easy span:
He has his Summer, when luxuriously
     Spring’s honied cud of youthful thought he loves
To ruminate, and by such dreaming high
     Is nearest unto heaven: quiet coves
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
     He furleth close; contented so to look
On mists in idleness—to let fair things
     Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.
He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
Or else he would forego his mortal nature.

Questions

  1. This poem’s tone would best be described as:

a) Pessimistic and sarcastic

b) Apoplectic and lyrical

c) Acerbic and bellicose

d) Observant and explanatory

2. In this poem, Man is described as being like two animals (a bird and a cow). This is an example of:

a) A metaphor and a zoomorphism

b) A simile and alliteration

c) A triptych and a zoomorphism

d) A simile and consonance

3. What is this poem’s structure?

a) ABAB ABAB ABAB CC

b) ABBB ABBB ABBB CC

c) ABAB CDCD EFEF GG

d) AABB CCDD EEFF GG

4. Which of these is a literary device that is used in the poem?

a) Imagery

b) Alliteration

c) Anecdote

d) Triptych

5. As established, Man is associated with cows in the poem. Which line does this?

a) “his Winter too of pale misfeature”

b) “Spring’s honied cud of youthful thought”

c) “when his wings / He furleth close”

d) “when fancy clear / Takes in all beauty with an easy span”

6. Autumn has the highest number of lines and the most description. What is a possible reason behind this choice?

a) Autumn represents the slowest stage of a life; a high number of lines reflects that longevity.

b) Autumn is John Keats’ favourite season, as evidenced by his detailed description of it.

c) Autumn is the longest season of the year, so it is only logical for it to have the highest number of lines.

d) Autumn is a time of play and pleasure. A high number of lines reinforces those themes.

7. Which of these line best demonstrate the use of contrast?

a) “when his wings / He furleth close” and “he would forego his mortal nature

b) “He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear / Takes in all beauty with an easy span” and “There are four seasons in the mind of man

c) “Four Seasons fill the measure of the year” and “There are four seasons in the mind of man

d) “He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear / Takes in all beauty with an easy span” and “His soul has in its Autumn…contented so to look / On mists in idleness

8. Winter is spoken about _____________. This is most likely to illustrate ___________.

a) Sporadically, winter’s longevity

b) A lot, winter’s brevity

c) Briefly, winter’s brevity

d) Briefly, winter’s longevity

9. Is this poem about actual seasons or something else? How can you tell? Provide two pieces of evidence from the text to support your answer (adjectives, the title, dialogue etc.).

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10. Choose one season. What kind of personality does this season show in the poem? Provide three adjectives/lines from the text to support your answer.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check your answers here!

Note: To my knowledge, utilising this passage as a free educational exercise falls under fair use. If not, please let me know. I want to make sure that everything on this website is fair and right. The questions are of my own creation.

Author:

A teaching student whose goal is to become a primary-school teacher! I'm currently working as an English tutor to almost 100 students (they're all wonderful!).

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