The darkeling thrush
In the sense of brevity and descriptive art The Darkling Thrush is the masterpiece of Thomas Hardy which at the same time expresses his mixed reaction - pessimism and optimism for the coming generation. At the fag end of the nineteenth century, i. e. on 31st December 1900, the last day of 19th century , the day the poem is composed, the poet is somewhat listless. The vast desolate winter atmosphere and lifelessness create a fit occasion to give rise in the poet’s mind to the central thought embodied in the poem- a pensive reflection to life and society.
Poems of the Past and the Present (1901), which includes The Darkling Thrush, contains many poems expressing Hardy's dismay with British imperialism. There he also mourns the passing of agricultural society and sees little cause to celebrate England’s rapid industrialization, which destroy the customs and traditions of rural life. Here in The Darkling Thrush ,in the transition of two centuries, he finds nothing hopeful or constructive. Yet there remains remote possibilities which the thrush prophesies.
First of all the poet presents a desolate winter scene at the close of the day. People living nearby had retired indoors. There was frost which was pale as ghost. The inclement weather of the winter still prevailed and the sun has already set on the western horizon. The stems of the bine trees have already reached the sky. Each and every member of the society was in earnest quest of their domestic entertainments. The poet is leant upon the gate. The sharp features of the landscape appeared to be the corpse or dead body of the nineteenth century. The century was almost dying. The process of birth and growth seemed to have stopped in the rigorous winter. The sky was cloudy, a storm was blowing. Every living being felt gloom and depression. But suddenly a song issued from the dark and decayed branches of the tree. It was spontaneous and it comes...
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