As the speaker looks upon cheerful autumn fields, he longs for bygone days. His feelings rise from the seat of emotion, the heart, and "gather to the eyes" (line 3) as tears. He cannot link the tears to a specific memory, for they are idle tears—tears that he cannot explain. Apparently, it is the past in general that moves him, "the days that are (lines 5, 10, 15, and 20)." .......The past can hearten, like morning's first light on the sail of a ship returning our friends from the land of the dead. And it can sadden, like evening's last light on the sail of a ship carrying those friends beyond the horizon. "So sad, so fresh" (line 10) are those days of long ago. .......How strange and sad it is for a dying man to hear the first chirp of the birds at the dawn of a summer day and watch the sun turn the window into a "glimmering square." .......The bygone days are as sweet to us as the memories of kisses from loved ones who have died—as as sweet at those we imagined we bestowed on the lips of a person pledged to another. Memories of those days are as deep as first love and full of regret for what we did or did not do. They are death in life, those days that are long gone.
Figures of speech:
know not (line 1)
depth of some divine despair (line 2)
Fresh as the first beam (line 6)
friends up from (line 7)
which reddens over one (line 8)
with all we love below the verge (line 9)
So sad, so fresh (line 10)
sad and strange as in dark summer dawns (line 11)Apostrophe/Paradox Death in Life Apostrophe: The speaker addresses Death.
Paradox: Death in Life Metaphor Death in Life, the days that are no more (line 20) Comparison of "the days that are no more" to "Death in Life "Simile The second stanza compares the freshness of "the days that are no more" (line 10) to the freshness of the "first beam" (line 6). It also compares the sadness of "the days that are no more" to the sadness of "the last [beam] which reddens"...