Thomas Hardy Notes on Hap

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Author: Thomas Hardy
First Published: 1898
Type of Poem: Sonnet
Genres: Poetry, Sonnet
Subjects: Suffering, Despair, God, Pain, Good and evil, Gods or goddesses, Fate or fatalism, Life, philosophy of, Life and death, Time, Joy or sorrow, Luck or misfortune The Poem
Thomas Hardy has structured “Hap” to meet all the requirements of the form of an English sonnet: Its fourteen lines are written in iambic pentameter, the rhyme scheme abab, cdcd, efef, gg is complied with, and the three quatrains are followed by a rhymed couplet to conclude the poem. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Hap - Thomas Hardy

*If you need to find something quickly, I suggest you hit CTRL + F and type in what you are looking for.*

Hap(1)

If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

Then would I bear it, clench myself and die,
Steeled by the sense of the ire(2) unmerited;
Half eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted(3) me the tears I shed.

But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
-Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan...
These purblind Doomsters(4) had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

References:
1 - Chance (aka Casualty @ line 11)
2 - Anger
3 - Given
4 - Half-blind judges

Author:
Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928) His works usually show the struggle between nature of man, inside and out, to shape human destiny. only through endurance, heroism or simple act of good can his characters overcome the adversity of unknown forces guiding them through life blindly.

Explanation:

(My professor once said, "To truly enjoy what we have before us, we must not be gluttons. We must be mannered beings who adhere to the rules of society and take in, what we have before us, a morsel at a time.")

{Essentially what he meant was, "Don't try to understand the entire thing at first. Take it in by sentences, then stanzas and then you will have arrived at the entire idea. But for this poem, we need to look at it semi-collectively}

Let us begin with the first 2 stanzas:

1st STANZA

If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

2nd STANZA

Then would I bear it, clench myself and die,
Steeled by the sense of the ire(2) unmerited;
Half eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted(3) me the tears I shed.

So... what did we just read? A lot of mumbo jumbo at first glance. But I promise that there is a meaning here.

Our friend Thomas wishes for an angry god to peer down at him and laugh. Because god is such a powerful being that rains down misfortunes on humans, Hardy would have someone to target his anger towards. Hardy would know that God made him suffer and so Hardy would be completely alright dying hating god.

3rd Stanza
But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
-Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan...
These purblind Doomsters(4) had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

Hardy finishes off this poem by hinting that his anger towards god would be unjustified. God does not bring forth only sadness, he also brings forth happiness and hope. If god gives us both, then why does Hardy need to be so depressed? Why can not he be extremely happy? Hardy's answer to his own philosophical question is: It is not some supreme being giving me happiness and then giving me sadness based on my actions. It is just random chance. It is random chance that I have been extremely happy and extremely depressed.

Summary:
Hardy wishes that god exist but sadly, he doesn't. Because all...
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