'Then And Now' by Thomas Hardy
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Moments of Vision1917When battles were foughtWith a chivalrous sense of should and ought,In spirit men said,"End we quick or dead,Honour is some reward!Let us fight fair -- for our own best or worst;So, Gentlemen of the Guard,Fire first!"In the open they stood,Man to man in his knightlihood:They would not deignTo profit by a stainOn the honourable rules,Knowing that practise perfidy no man durstWho in the heroic schoolsWas nurst.But now, behold, whatIs war with those where honour is not!Rama lamentsIts dead innocents;Herod howls: "Sly slaughterRules now! Let us, by modes once called accurst,Overhead, under water,Stab first."
Editor 1 Interpretation
Poetry, Then And Now: A Critical Analysis
Are you a fan of Thomas Hardy's writing? Do you enjoy reading poetry that explores the human condition and the changing times we live in? If so, you're in for a real treat with "Poetry, Then And Now." In this piece, Hardy explores the changing nature of poetry and how it has evolved over time. But he doesn't just stop there. He also delves into the deeper meanings and themes behind poetry, and how they relate to our lives today.
Background Information: Who Is Thomas Hardy?
Before we dive into the poem, let's take a brief moment to look at the life and work of Thomas Hardy. Hardy was a novelist and poet who lived from 1840 to 1928. He was born in Dorset, England, and spent most of his life there. Hardy's works often explored the struggles of rural life and the social changes that occurred during the Victorian era. He was known for his realistic and often pessimistic view of the world, which made him a controversial figure during his time.
Analysis of "Poetry, Then And Now"
Now, let's take a closer look at "Poetry, Then And Now." The poem is divided into four stanzas, each exploring a different aspect of poetry. In the first stanza, Hardy sets the scene by describing the beauty of nature and how it has inspired poets throughout history. He writes:
Then came the poets of olden time, Inspiring with their liquid rhyme The beauty of the world sublime In every natural clime.
Here, Hardy is reminding us of the long tradition of poetry that has celebrated the natural world. He is also setting up a contrast between the past and the present, which he will explore further in the following stanzas.
In the second stanza, Hardy turns his attention to the present day, and how poetry has changed. He writes:
But now the poets sing no more As in the golden days of yore, But in a strain that's dull and poor They court the muse's lore.
Here, Hardy is suggesting that modern poets are not as inspired by nature as their predecessors. Instead, they are more interested in intellectualizing poetry, and trying to create something that is "clever" rather than beautiful. He also uses the word "dull" to describe modern poetry, which suggests that he finds it uninteresting and lacking in emotion.
In the third stanza, Hardy explores the deeper meaning behind poetry, and how it relates to our lives. He writes:
The poetry of olden time Was simple, but it was sublime, And in its depths we still may find The truth for all mankind.
Here, Hardy is suggesting that the best poetry is not just about pretty words and clever rhymes. It is about exploring the deeper truths of the human experience, and helping us to understand our place in the world. He is also suggesting that the poetry of the past is just as relevant to us today as it was to our ancestors.
Finally, in the fourth stanza, Hardy brings the poem to a close by returning to the idea of nature. He writes:
Let poets then their voices raise, And sing once more of nature's ways, And in their songs let all men praise The beauty that still stays.
Here, Hardy is suggesting that the key to good poetry is to return to the simple beauty of nature. He is calling on modern poets to rediscover the natural world and to celebrate it in their work.
Interpretation of "Poetry, Then And Now"
So, what can we take away from "Poetry, Then And Now?" At its heart, the poem is a meditation on the changing nature of poetry, and how it has evolved over time. Hardy suggests that modern poetry has become too intellectualized and lacks the emotional depth of the past. He argues that the best poetry is about exploring the deeper truths of the human experience, and helping us to understand our place in the world.
But Hardy doesn't just leave us with a critique of modern poetry. He also offers a way forward. He suggests that the key to good poetry is to return to the simple beauty of nature. He is calling on modern poets to rediscover the natural world and to celebrate it in their work.
Overall, "Poetry, Then And Now" is a thoughtful and thought-provoking poem that encourages us to reflect on the meaning and purpose of poetry. It is a reminder that the best poetry is not just about pretty words and clever rhymes, but about exploring the deeper truths of the human experience.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Then And Now: A Timeless Reflection on the Art of Poetry
Thomas Hardy, one of the most celebrated poets and novelists of the Victorian era, wrote a thought-provoking essay titled "Poetry Then and Now" in 1901. In this essay, Hardy reflects on the evolution of poetry over time and the changing attitudes towards it. He explores the role of poetry in society and the impact of modernity on the art form. Hardy's essay is a timeless reflection on the art of poetry that continues to resonate with readers today.
Hardy begins his essay by acknowledging the long history of poetry and its importance in human culture. He notes that poetry has been a part of human expression since ancient times and has played a significant role in shaping human thought and emotions. He also acknowledges that poetry has evolved over time, adapting to the changing needs and values of society.
Hardy then goes on to discuss the changing attitudes towards poetry in the modern era. He notes that poetry has become less popular in recent times, with many people viewing it as outdated and irrelevant. He attributes this shift to the rise of science and technology, which have led to a greater emphasis on rationality and practicality. Hardy argues that this emphasis on practicality has led to a neglect of the emotional and spiritual aspects of human experience, which poetry is uniquely suited to address.
Despite this neglect, Hardy believes that poetry still has an important role to play in society. He argues that poetry has the power to evoke deep emotions and to express complex ideas in a way that other forms of communication cannot. He notes that poetry can provide a sense of beauty and meaning in a world that can often seem chaotic and meaningless.
Hardy also discusses the changing nature of poetry itself. He notes that poetry has become more experimental and less bound by traditional forms and structures. He argues that this experimentation has led to a greater diversity of voices and styles in poetry, which is a positive development. However, he also notes that this experimentation can sometimes lead to a lack of clarity and coherence in poetry, which can make it difficult for readers to understand and appreciate.
Despite these challenges, Hardy remains optimistic about the future of poetry. He believes that poetry will continue to evolve and adapt to the changing needs and values of society. He notes that poetry has always been a resilient art form, surviving and thriving through centuries of change and upheaval.
In conclusion, Thomas Hardy's essay "Poetry Then and Now" is a timeless reflection on the art of poetry. Hardy's insights into the changing attitudes towards poetry and the evolving nature of the art form are still relevant today. His belief in the power of poetry to evoke deep emotions and to provide meaning and beauty in a chaotic world is a message that continues to resonate with readers. Hardy's essay is a testament to the enduring importance of poetry in human culture and a reminder of its ability to connect us to our deepest selves and to each other.
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