On the Grasshopper and the Cricket: Summary & Analysis

An Introduction to the poem

“On the grasshopper and the Cricket” by John Keats is a fine piece of sonnet written in December 1816. The poem was inspired by the beauty of nature, the most common theme among the Romantic poets. To be precise, the poet here celebrates the ‘poetry of earth’ – the music of nature which is omnipresent. The two opening lines of the octave and the sestet “The poetry of earth is never dead” and “The poetry of earth is ceasing never” say it all.

Keats has introduced two little creatures – the grasshopper and the cricket, as the title of the poem suggests – to represent the vitality and joyous mood of nature even in the scorching hot of summer and in bleak and bitter cold of winter. The sonnet is all about how the grasshopper and the cricket carry on with the endless song of the earth.

In its form, Keats’ poem is a Petrarchan / Italian sonnet with the rhyme scheme ABBAABBA CDECDE. Iambic Pentameter lines run through the entire poem. While the octet concentrates on the grasshopper’s voice in summer, the sestet deals with the cricket’s song in winter.