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Under The Waterfall Analysis



Author: Poetry of Thomas Hardy Type: Poetry Views: 779

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Satires of Circumstance1914'Whenever I plunge my arm, like this,In a basin of water, I never missThe sweet sharp sense of a fugitive dayFetched back from its thickening shroud of gray.Hence the only primeAnd real love-rhymeThat I know by heart,And that leaves no smart,Is the purl of a little valley fallAbout three spans wide and two spans tallOver a table of solid rock,And into a scoop of the self-same block;The purl of a runlet that never ceasesIn stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces;With a hollow boiling voice it speaksAnd has spoken since hills were turfless peaks.''And why gives this the only primeIdea to you of a real love-rhyme?And why does plunging your arm in a bowlFull of spring water, bring throbs to your soul?''Well, under the fall, in a crease of the stone,Though precisely where none ever has known,Jammed darkly, nothing to show how prized,And by now with its smoothness opalized,Is a grinking glass:For, down that passMy lover and IWalked under a skyOf blue with a leaf-wove awning of green,In the burn of August, to paint the scene,And we placed our basket of fruit and wineBy the runlet's rim, where we sat to dine;And when we had drunk from the glass together,Arched by the oak-copse from the weather,I held the vessel to rinse in the fall,Where it slipped, and it sank, and was past recall,Though we stooped and plumbed the little abyssWith long bared arms. There the glass still is.And, as said, if I thrust my arm belowCold water in a basin or bowl, a throeFrom the past awakens a sense of that time,And the glass we used, and the cascade's rhyme.The basin seems the pool, and its edgeThe hard smooth face of the brook-side ledge,And the leafy pattern of china-wareThe hanging plants that were bathing there.'By night, by day, when it shines or lours,There lies intact that chalice of ours,And its presence adds to the rhyme of lovePersistently sung by the fall above.No lip has touched it since his and mineIn turns therefrom sipped lovers' wine.'





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

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I love this poem, Thomas Hardy has really opened my eyes to the fact that I shouldn't have picked English Lit. as an A Level :)

| Posted on 2013-09-22 | by a guest


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If you are in uncomfortable position and have got no money to go out from that point, you would have to receive the home loans. Because it would help you unquestionably. I get sba loan every year and feel good just because of that.

| Posted on 2012-12-13 | by a guest


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I was thinking about what \'Posted on 2010-12-29 | by a guest\' said about the significance of the \'love-rhyme\' in the first stanza and \'ryhme of love\' in the last stanza mmeant and concluded that it was a rounding/cyclic method used to symbolise the continuous flow their love much like the waterfall (and the poem itself). Their love will be undisturbed by time - it will alway flow.
PS: (to the person who posted the comment on 2010-12-29) sorry, its two years to late. really helpful discussion by the way
Annabelle x

| Posted on 2012-05-15 | by a guest


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I love the explicit themes presented in Hardy\'s works. They bring out some inner passions within me that I find hard to control. The only example I can really give you is having it off with a rabbit stuck in the boot of a mini.

| Posted on 2011-11-29 | by a guest


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I think this poem is stunning. Hardy uses an old memory portrayed through the thoughts of his wife emma, to show although their relationship wasn\'t always easy and perfect they did have some brilliant memories. The \'chalice\' represents their love and the fact that it remains intact and ready to be recalled once they are ready (maybe after death).

| Posted on 2011-09-30 | by a guest


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\'Whenever I plunge my arms, like this\'- emphasis the actions breaking through the past and present. ( Language)
\'Sweet sharp sense\'- slows down the rhythm of the poem. (sibilance soft sound) which shows her memory is slowing returning back to her, where she is enjoying it. (Structure)
Metaphor of \'Fugitive\' which means running away and cannot get it back.
Enjambement from line7 to show the natural speech and the natural flow of the waterfall.
lines from 43-46, shows the entended metaphor of the sink and the river.
\'Real love-rhyme\'- questions the reader if the love they are sharing at the moment is true, or questioning the reader if it is false love.
THANKS VERY MUCH, WRITTEN BY A VERY SMART ENGLISH STUDENT WHO GOT A VERY HIGH GRADE 4 ALEVEL ENGLISH LITERATURE!!!!

| Posted on 2011-05-08 | by a guest


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Really interesting reading through all of this, Guest @ 2010-02-09 makes some very good points. I also agree with others though who have argued that their relationship is hanging on a thread - we know from contextual books that they hardly had \"the best of times\", more like \"the worst of times\" since H largely ignored Emma... I think in the main body of text, there\'s a lot of words that suggest cloudiness/shade like \"opalized\" (usually used in relation to a cloudy gem stone) and \"shroud of gray\" (Is there something to pick up on in a deliberate mispelling of this word?). Hardy, or rather the woman who is speaking seems to have a very vague memory of this and od their relationship because it was one good moment in a long, bad one which ended when she eventually died, probably of neglect or a broken heart apart from anything else. The shorter \'slim\' lines quicken the rhythm though and I think changes the mood to a more positive one. Of course, the point about the sibilance and her detailed recollection of things like the \"leafy pattern on the china-ware\" and \"purl of the little valley fall\" might show that she/he does remember it and looks back on it with nostalgia - but surely since the glass is clearly at the centre of the poem (the excessive language used to describe it - \"vessel\", \"chalice\") it should be this and not the rest of the things that she remembers, but she doesn\'t and it lies still at the bottom of the pool, and they\'re not going back for it. I\'d also like to ask anyone with half a brain what the significance of repeating the phrase \"rhyme of love\" or \"love-rhyme\" as it first appears. Hope that analysis helps someone or other and someone can answer my question!

| Posted on 2010-12-29 | by a guest


.: :.

Really interesting reading through all of this, Guest @ 2010-02-09 makes some very good points. I also agree with others though who have argued that their relationship is hanging on a thread - we know from contextual books that they hardly had \"the best of times\", more like \"the worst of times\" since H largely ignored Emma... I think in the main body of text, there\'s a lot of words that suggest cloudiness/shade like \"opalized\" (usually used in relation to a cloudy gem stone) and \"shroud of gray\" (Is there something to pick up on in a deliberate mispelling of this word?). Hardy, or rather the woman who is speaking seems to have a very vague memory of this and od their relationship because it was one good moment in a long, bad one which ended when she eventually died, probably of neglect or a broken heart apart from anything else. The shorter \'slim\' lines quicken the rhythm though and I think changes the mood to a more positive one. Of course, the point about the sibilance and her detailed recollection of things like the \"leafy pattern on the china-ware\" and \"purl of the little valley fall\" might show that she/he does remember it and looks back on it with nostalgia - but surely since the glass is clearly at the centre of the poem (the excessive language used to describe it - \"vessel\", \"chalice\") it should be this and not the rest of the things that she remembers, but she doesn\'t and it lies still at the bottom of the pool, and they\'re not going back for it. I\'d also like to ask anyone with half a brain what the significance of repeating the phrase \"rhyme of love\" or \"love-rhyme\" as it first appears. Hope that analysis helps someone or other and someone can answer my question!

| Posted on 2010-12-29 | by a guest


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I just love Hardy, the rather explicit themes of love in this poem make me want to squeeze a massive poo out

| Posted on 2010-06-08 | by a guest


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The rhyming couplets are representative of the unity between Emma (Hardy's wife)and Hardy himself. Even though they are physically apart they are spiritually together with the element of water.
In the first and second stanza there are two 'slimm' parts; the rhyming changes in these to an anapaestic rhythm (two unstressed followed by a stressed). This change in rhythm is trance like which, I think, reflects Hardy's reflection and dreaming of their relationship.
The physical appearance opf the poem looks like a waterfall and the stanza's have no set length. This represents the irregular and random way that water falls down a waterfall.

| Posted on 2010-04-02 | by a guest


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In the poem ‘Under the Waterfall’ Thomas Hardy describes a memory through the persona of a woman of picnicking by a waterfall and losing a glass in the water whilst washing it. It begins with a conversational tone; ‘Whenever I plunge my arm, like this...’ and as a reader one immediately feels a sense of a story, the source of which is a personal moment in time shared with a lover. There is a nostalgic feel when she says ‘No lip has touched it since his and mine’ and there is a sense of regret or a wistful frame of mind. The somewhat insensitive reply of ‘And why does this... bring throbs to your soul?’ brings in dialogue and a ruthful contrast to the dreamy first voice. We recall the memory from the point of view of one person, much like in Pride and Prejudice as we learn the story from Lizzy’s point of view. The poem’s emphasis is on the reflective mood and the setting of the ‘blue leaf-wove awning of green’ and the ‘purl of the little valley fall’ and how she misses the past.
The verse form is three stanzas with a tetrameter and rhyming couplets. Through the question and answer dialogue of the characters in verse 2 and the women’s explanation we learn of the story and why ‘plunging her arm in a bowl’ reminds her of that day. She alternates between the memory of that ‘fugitive day’ and now as the ‘basin seems the pool, and its edge/The hard smooth face of the brook-side ledge’; the first stanza describes the hidden valley itself and the second the memories associated with the place. The poem there is no real beginning, middle or end but more a feeling of a fragment of a moment of reminiscence or musing to oneself. The time passed during the poem is very little, however many hours are passed as she remembers and her chronological account of the day, ‘we placed our basket of fruit and wine/By the runlet’s rim, where we sat to dine;/And when we had drunk from the glass together... I held the vessel to rinse in the fall’.
To aid us in picturing the scene there is strong imagery such as ‘in the burn of August’ which makes us imagine the heat of the day and the sibilance of words such as ‘sweet sharp sense’ help create a strong illustration of how well she remembers it. Words such as ‘rock’ and ‘block’ are concrete nouns which secure our mind’s depiction and when Hardy relates recognisable things such as ‘the leafy pattern of china-ware’ to ‘the hanging plants’ that were around the water’s edge it adds immediacy. The onomatopoeic use of the word ‘purl’ describes the gentle noise of the water falling ‘from a table of solid rock’ and the use of commas in the sentence ‘It slipped, and sank, and was past recall’ slows the sentence and gives a sense of watching the glass fall gradually through the water out of reach into the ‘little abyss’.
Hardy's wife Emma has passed away at the time this poem was written. Perhaps this is a suggestion to how he knew that his wife was fond of memories from their courtship and that the glass that is lost is symbolic of how their love was not longer there but not lost forever, if only they could have retrieved it ‘though we stooped and plumbed... there the glass still is’. At the end of the poem Hardy alludes to the idea that their love has stayed intact just as the ‘chalice’ has and that they will be may be together after death as the waterfall is a symbol of ongoing life as it has always been there and always will be; ‘a runlet that never ceases/ In stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces/...and has spoken since hills were turfless peaks’.

| Posted on 2010-02-09 | by a guest


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I really like this poem, i think that it shows that what Hardy and Emma had was not all bad, despite what is written about their marriage. It has a nostalgic feel to it, and is as though he looks back on this scene with rose-tinted glasses. when he says 'fetched back from thickening shroud of grey' it represents the idea of his memories fading of the good times.

| Posted on 2010-01-24 | by a guest


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I agree about the structure of the poem, but perhaps this could also be seen as their relationship hanging on a thread? It is as though the majority of the poem has been held together quite strongly, but as Hardy's voice comes into the poem (when he answers Emma's questions)there seems to be small thin blocks of writing.
Perhaps this is about Emma and Hardy's relationship being broken down, but Hardy denies any problems that Emma addresses. At the beginning she plunges her arm into a basin, which is quite domestic, but she reminisces about the times they had together (which is in a natural environment). Nature can be related to the freeness, whereas a domestic setting can relate to being imprisoned. She also speaks about the glass being caught between the rocks of the waterfall and she cannot get it out, which can also symbolize their relationship being a struggle. But I could be reading too much into it... Ha-ha :)

| Posted on 2010-01-20 | by a guest


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One of many great poems by Hardy, this particular one is my favourite. It shows Hardy's amazing talent for finding significance in the seemingly insignificant. The scene of the two lovers - him and his girl - to great effect, with the minutae of detail to place it firmly in the reader's mind's eye. I love it.

| Posted on 2009-12-15 | by a guest


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lowell is a slug. this is his eyebrow l:) I hate this poem

| Posted on 2009-12-09 | by a guest


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I think Thomas Hardy's poem is represented in a retrospective point of view considering all aspects of life. Ofcourse the only reason for this was because of his big willy. big big willys everywhere.

| Posted on 2009-12-09 | by a guest


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hardy is great he has a better moustache than hitler and stalin combined

| Posted on 2009-12-09 | by a guest


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this is a really realy gud story. i really liked it loads. im realy smart. x I have lots of money.

| Posted on 2009-12-09 | by a guest


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the poem representas the love connection that Hardy and his wife shared. the chalice is used to symbolise their relationship. when it says: 'there lies intact tht chalice of ours' it may represent that although hardy and his wife have been through alot in their tme their love till remains unbrocken. however when it says: 'i hekd the vessel to rinse in the fall, where it slipped, and it sank, and was past recall' hardy seems to contridict himself because, although the poem tends to use nature to represent love this may represent the loss of love in their relationship.

| Posted on 2009-05-19 | by a guest


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what i found ineteresting about the poem is the structure, i.e. the shape of the poem when it is laid out how it was written (not how its shown above). lines 5-8 and lines 25-28 could be seen as a waterfall. maybe a bit ambiguous, but Hardy also does this in 'The convergence of Twain'. again take a look at the actual structure in terms of shape, and note how the stanzas resemble a ship or possibly an iceburg. ambiguos i know, but i thought it was a little bit different to usual analysis!

| Posted on 2009-04-22 | by a guest


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This poem is written in the voice of Emma Hardy- Thomas Hardy's wife. There is also a second voice which questions the first speaker to encourage them to elaborate on the story. The poem was written before Emma died and is a happy memory. I thought the idea of the chalice could be significant of the last supper- perhaps signifying it was one of the last happy moments they shared?
The poem uses a mixture of iambic and anapestic metre, conversational in style. The lack of ceasuras and use of enjambment gives a feel of the flowing water and keeps the poem moving.
Hardy includes favourite themes such as nature and love.
This is just my personal interpretation of the poem but i thought it might help.
Charlotte

| Posted on 2009-04-16 | by a guest


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i believe this poem is about lovers, and when they look inside themsleves and to each other they realise that time will have an affect sooner or later, and that just because they love each other doesnt mean time wont affect them.
"And why does plunging your arm in a bowl Full of spring water, bring throbs to your soul?"
i believe this is a reminisance of something they did together when they were younger and doing it reminds them so brings back memories of happy times together.
i think this poem overall is to do with losing someone and what doing certain things can do in helping you to remember them.
"No lip has touched it since his and mine In turns therefrom sipped lovers' wine."
this is about a glass they have drunk from and the 'no lip has touched since his an mine' states that they remained faithful to one another even after things had happened, that the glass was never used except by the two lovers concerren in the poem.
this is only a rough idea so if anyone has anyothers they would like to add or further justify from these please do. it would be a great help in the long run thanks. abby.

| Posted on 2009-01-14 | by a guest




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