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The Darkling Thrush Analysis

Author: poem of Thomas Hardy Type: poem Views: 111

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I leant upon a coppice gate
     When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
     The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
     Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
     Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
     The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
     The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
     Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
     Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
     The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
     Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
     In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
     Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
     Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
     Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
     His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
     And I was unaware.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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| Posted on 2010-06-09 | by a guest

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There are several techniques the author uses throughout the poem to make the reader have this feeling of emphasis and presence. First, the rhyme scheme – the frequent use of enjambement and the regular tetrameter, and the regular ABAB rhyme the author chooses to use, first of all, gives the reader a sense of rhythmical song, not unlike the thrushes’. This should be assimilated with joy, a bird’s song with happiness – however, in this particular case, with the song Hardy highlights the melancholic spirit he wants to transmit to the reader, the feeling he had as he wrote this poem. This melanchonic feeling is conveyed through the language the author chooses to use: “strings of broken lyres” when describing ‘tangled bine-stems’. “And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires” in these two lines we feel Thomas Hardy’s criticism towards man’s destroying of nature. The fact that he uses the word “Haunted” suggests the author thinks of nature as almost, human, or living.

| Posted on 2009-11-28 | by a guest

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The comment above has been copied and pasted from enotes.

| Posted on 2009-01-07 | by a guest

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Thomas Hardy’s gloomy poem about the turn of the twentieth century, “The Darkling Thrush,” remains one of his most popular and anthologized lyrics. Written on the eve of the new century and first published in Graphic with the subtitle “By the Century’s Deathbed” and then published in London Times on New Year’s Day, 1901, the thirty-twoline poem uses a bleak and wintry landscape as a metaphor for the close of the nineteenth century and the joyful song of a solitary thrush as a symbolic image of the dawning century. Like much of Hardy’s writing, “The Darkling Thrush” embodies the writer’s despair and pessimism. This is partially offset, however, by the artfulness of the poem itself. Hardy was sixty years old when he penned the lyric, far past the life expectancy for a man of his time. A few years earlier he had stopped writing novels, after critics panned Jude the Obscure, and turned to writing poetry exclusively. “The Darkling Thrush” is included in his second volume of verse, Poems of the Past and the Present (1901), in the section “Miscellaneous Poems,” sandwiched between “The Last Chrysanthemum” and “The Comet at Yell’ham,” two other bleak poems of nature. Harper & Brothers published Poems of the Past and the Present in an edition of one thousand copies, and a few months later a second edition was published in an edition of five hundred copies. The poem also frequently appears in poetry anthologies such as The Norton Anthology of Poetry because it is a transitional poem, illustrating the trepidation and doubt many people felt about the future as the Victorian era came to an end and the modern era was about to begin.

| Posted on 2008-04-12 | by a guest

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