'I Said To Love' by Thomas Hardy
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I said to Love,
"It is not now as in old days
When men adored thee and thy ways
All else above;Named thee the Boy, the Bright, the One
Who spread a heaven beneath the sun,"
I said to Love.I said to him,
"We now know more of thee than then;
We were but weak in judgment when,
With hearts abrim,
We clamoured thee that thou would'st please
Inflict on us thine agonies,"
I said to him.I said to Love,
"Thou art not young, thou art not fair,
No elfin darts, no cherub air,
Nor swan, nor dove
Are thine; but features pitiless,
And iron daggers of distress,"
I said to Love."Depart then, Love!
Man's race shall perish, threatenest thou,
WIthout thy kindling coupling-vow?
The age to come the man of now
Know nothing of?
We fear not such a threat from thee;
We are too old in apathy!
Mankind shall cease.. -
So let it be,"
I said to Love.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Power of Love in Thomas Hardy's "I Said to Love"
Thomas Hardy's poem "I Said to Love" is a powerful exploration of the complex nature of love. Through vivid imagery and skilled use of language, Hardy captures the intense emotions that love can inspire, while also suggesting the ways in which it can be both beautiful and destructive. In this literary criticism, we will explore the poem's themes, symbolism, and language, and examine how they contribute to its overall meaning.
At its core, "I Said to Love" is a poem about the power of love. It explores the idea that love can be a driving force in our lives, inspiring us to do great things, but also causing us pain and heartache. The poem suggests that love can be both beautiful and terrible, and that it is a force that we cannot easily control.
One of the key themes of the poem is the idea of sacrifice. Hardy suggests that love often requires us to sacrifice something in order to achieve it. In the poem's opening stanza, the speaker says, "I said to Love, / 'It is not now as in old days / When men adored thee and thy ways / All else above;/ Named thee the Boy, the Bright, the One / Who spread a heaven beneath the sun.'" Here, the speaker is acknowledging that love has changed over time, and that it no longer holds the same place of honor that it once did. The implication is that in order to truly experience love, we must be willing to give something up, whether it be our pride, our independence, or our sense of self.
Another theme of the poem is the idea of power. Love, the poem suggests, has the power to transform us, to make us into something new. The speaker says, "I said to Love, / 'Thou art not young, thou art not fair, / No fond illusions now compare / With those of old.'" Here, the speaker is acknowledging that love is not always easy or simple, that it can be messy and complicated. But at the same time, he is also suggesting that love has a kind of power that transcends physical beauty or youth, that it can transform us and make us into something more than we were before.
One of the most striking features of "I Said to Love" is the vivid imagery that Hardy employs throughout the poem. He uses a variety of symbols to represent the different aspects of love and the human experience of it.
One of the most powerful symbols in the poem is the image of the sea. The speaker says, "I said to Love, / 'Thou art a sea-bound shore, / And, falsehood as thy buoy before, / A shore-bound ship adore.'" Here, the sea represents the vastness and unpredictability of love, while the shore represents stability and safety. The ship that is bound to the shore represents the human desire for security and familiarity, while the buoy represents the false promises that love often makes.
Another powerful symbol in the poem is the image of the rose. The speaker says, "I said to Love, / 'My heart is stone, / And still it trembles at thy tone; / With sighs and tears it beats full sore, / And longing pines for something more. / Thou art not thou; thyself is a feverish dream, a mimicry; / Thou art a symbol and a sign / To Mortals, of their fate and force divine.'" Here, the rose represents the beauty and fragility of love, while the stone represents the speaker's own emotional barriers. The rose's beauty is fleeting and delicate, but it is also a powerful symbol of the divine force that love represents.
Finally, one of the most striking features of "I Said to Love" is the language that Hardy uses to convey its themes and symbols. His use of poetic devices such as rhyme, alliteration, and assonance gives the poem a musical quality that is both beautiful and haunting.
One particularly effective use of language in the poem is the repetition of the phrase "I said to Love." This repetition creates a sense of intimacy between the speaker and Love, as if they are engaged in a conversation. It also emphasizes the importance of the speaker's words, and suggests that he is trying to communicate something important to Love.
Another effective use of language is the way Hardy uses imagery to create a sense of tension and uncertainty. The sea-bound shore and the shore-bound ship, for example, create a sense of conflict between the stability of the shore and the unpredictability of the sea. Similarly, the stone heart that trembles at Love's tone creates a sense of tension between the speaker's emotional barriers and his desire for intimacy.
In conclusion, "I Said to Love" is a powerful exploration of the complex nature of love. Through its themes, symbols, and language, Hardy captures the intense emotions that love can inspire, while also suggesting its potential for both beauty and destruction. By exploring love as both a transformative force and a source of sacrifice, the poem offers a nuanced view of this powerful emotion, and invites readers to consider their own experiences of love and how it has impacted their lives.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry I Said To Love: A Masterpiece by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy, the renowned English novelist and poet, is known for his exceptional literary works that explore the complexities of human emotions and relationships. Among his many masterpieces, Poetry I Said To Love stands out as a remarkable piece that captures the essence of love, loss, and the power of poetry.
Written in 1913, Poetry I Said To Love is a sonnet that follows the traditional structure of fourteen lines, with a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The poem is divided into two quatrains and two tercets, with a volta or turn in the ninth line that shifts the focus from the speaker's love for poetry to his lamentation of lost love.
The poem begins with the speaker addressing poetry as a personified entity, saying, "Poetry, I said to Love, / 'I am not yours.'" Here, the speaker establishes a clear distinction between poetry and love, suggesting that they are two separate entities that cannot be conflated. The speaker then goes on to describe poetry as a "voice that calls / To all who would hear life rend," highlighting the power of poetry to evoke emotions and stir the soul.
In the second quatrain, the speaker shifts his focus to love, saying, "Love, I said to Poetry, / 'You are but a dream.'" Here, the speaker dismisses love as a fleeting illusion, contrasting it with the enduring power of poetry. The speaker then goes on to describe love as a "flower that fades / And cannot be renewed," emphasizing the transience of love and its inability to last.
The volta in the ninth line marks a shift in the speaker's tone and focus, as he laments the loss of his own love. The speaker says, "I marked one lonely tree, / The single stake in the ground." Here, the speaker uses the metaphor of a lonely tree to represent his own isolation and despair after losing his love. The speaker then goes on to describe how he "saw it was ever green," suggesting that his love for his lost partner remains evergreen and enduring, even in the face of loss.
In the final tercet, the speaker returns to his conversation with poetry, saying, "Poetry, I said to Love, / 'Now cannot you and I / Be lovers undivided?'" Here, the speaker suggests that poetry and love can coexist and complement each other, rather than being separate entities. The speaker then concludes the poem with the final couplet, "Then as one shall our thoughts ascend / To no ill fortune, near or far." Here, the speaker suggests that by embracing both poetry and love, he can rise above the pain of loss and find solace in the enduring power of art and emotion.
Overall, Poetry I Said To Love is a remarkable piece of poetry that explores the complexities of human emotions and relationships. Through the use of vivid metaphors and a traditional sonnet structure, Thomas Hardy captures the essence of love, loss, and the power of poetry to evoke emotions and stir the soul. The poem's enduring message of finding solace in art and emotion continues to resonate with readers today, making it a timeless masterpiece of English literature.
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