The Significance of Spring and Summer in Thomas Hardy’s Poems

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By Thomas Hardy

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 Traveller's Rest,'
And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest,
And citizens dream of the south and west,
And so do I.

This is the weather the shepherd shuns,
And so do I;
When beeches drip in browns and duns,
And thresh and ply;
And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe,
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate bars hang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go,
And so do I.

The Significance Of Spring And Summer In Thomas Hardy’s Poems - Document Transcript

1. The Significance of Spring and Summer in Thomas Hardy's Poems, If It's Ever Spring Again, and It Never Looks Like Summer Mehdi Hassanian esfahani (GS22456) The Victorian Age (BBL5101) Lecturer: Dr. Wan Roselezam February 2009 2. Introduction: Reading about Thomas Hardy, and as the master students of English Literature, we all know that Hardy had a pessimist view on life and love, was watchful about relationships and interested in psychology of behaviors. His meticulous description of events and characters is not limited to humans, and even nature and animals play a role in the setting of what he narrates and are related to the theme. The following study examines the description of ‘summer’ and ‘spring’ in two selected poems by Thomas Hardy, to observe the significance of climate and seasons in the theme of the poems. The reason of this particular selection is the similarity between the two, in their mood, atmosphere, theme and even the ending. As a result, the analysis will claim the same thing, although it may seem inappropriate to generalize it to Hardy’s poetry. Interpreting imagery, particularly visual imagery in these two poems helps to understand their usage and the role they play to create the theme and setting of time and place. In this way, figurative language and the relationship between words would be examined to lead us to the theme and bring about the importance of summer and spring regarding the poems. It is expected that Hardy uses seasons to refer to nature and its beauty, in order to create a romantic setting, like other Victorian poets, and also uses ‘summer’ and ‘spring’ in the sense attributed to optimistic qualities, hope, [2] 3. warmth and love. But the careful observation of this may reveal a contrast which is made to intensify the underlying theme, and lead us to a pessimist view of Hardy in these poems. Accordingly, it will show that the mood of these poems “differs from Victorian sorrow; it is sterner, [and] more skeptical as though braced by a long look at the worst” (Stallworthy & Ramazani, 1852). If It's Ever Spring Again (Song) If it's ever spring again, Spring again, I shall go where went I when Down the moor-cock splashed, and hen, Seeing me not, amid their flounder, Standing with my arm around her; If it's ever spring again, Spring again, I shall go where went I then. If it's ever summer-time, summer-time, With the hay crop at the prime, [3] 4. And the cuckoos – two – in rhyme, As they used to be, or seemed to, We shall do as long we've dreamed to, If it's ever summer-time, Summer-time, With the hay, and bees achime (594). The poem, or as Hardy called it the 'song' If It's Ever Spring Again deals with spring and summer; two bright and shiny seasons which normally warm the nature and people by the energy and hope they spread around. Kinesthetic imagery of ‘going out’ in line three, stanza one and the plashing moor-cock supports the excitement which is in the air. Hardy depicts spring with many positive qualities, when happiness is all around. He doesn’t talk of common characters, but moor-cock and moor-hen, which according to Morgon, the editor and publisher of the annual Hardy Review, are “shy, undemonstrative creatures rarely drawn from their coverture under the river-bank to...
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