A Critical Introduction to the Poems of Thomas Hardy by Trevor Johnson

By Trevor Johnson

An research of a number Hardy's poems, together with love poems, poems approximately rules, humans and areas and approximately seasons and animals. The poems are grouped via topic and the textual content used for the poems is from Dr James Gibson's "Thomas Hardy: the total Poems". every one set of poems is by way of an research of the poems. the writer has written a number of different books approximately Hardy and his poems, together with "Thomas Hardy" (1968) and "Thomas Hardy: An Annotated studying checklist" (1974).

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Is Hardy's dry advice to young poets in a hurry. He had married Florence in 1914, and with her his home life, which for years had been rather muddled and distraught, became calm and orderly. Yet, even in his seventies, he was far from content to rest upon his laurels, which from 1910 included the Order of Merit and - what probably pleased him still more - the title of Freeman of the Borough of Dorchester, the awarding of which prompted him to a speech full of local pride, though not devoid of sly humour too.

It begins This is the weather the cuckoo likes, And so do I; When showers betumble the chestnut spikes, And nestlings fly: And the little brown nightingale bills his best, And they sit outside at 'The Travellers' Rest', And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest, And citizens dream of the south and west, And so do I. What could be more engaging than the lilting rhythms (the stanza form is indeed Elizabethan in origin), the sharp-eyed observation of springtime - 'showers betumble the chestnut spikes' - the shared enjoyment of life's simpler pleasures, even the impudent, six-times-repeated initial And, which we have all been taught never to begin a sentence with?

The catalogue of winter's discomforts - the sodden landscape, the icy winds, the black, lumbering birds - makes a bleak contrast with the first stanza, which is, of course, much more agreeable to contemplate. But, as Coleridge, with whose critical opinions Hardy was well acquainted, once said, one of the most widespread errors is the confusion of what is 'agreeable' with Hardy's Poetry: A general survey 39 what is 'beautiful'. So, in his Apology to Late Lyrics and Earlier Hardy quotes Wordsworth's Preface to The Lyrical Ballads (jointly written by him and Coleridge) to the effect that most readers assume that 'by the act of writing in verse' poets undertake to confine themselves to ' ...

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