'I Have Lived With Shades' by Thomas Hardy
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II have lived with Shades so long,
So long have talked to them,
I sped to street and throng,
That sometimes they
In their dim style
Will pause awhile
To hear my say;IIAnd take me by the hand,
And lead me through their rooms
In the To-Be, where Dooms
Half-wove and shapeless stand:
And show from there
The dwindled dust
And rot and rust
Of things that were.III"Now turn," they said to me
One day: "Look whence we came,
And signify his name
Who gazes thence at thee" --
-- "Nor name nor race
Know I, or can,"
I said, "Of man
So commonplace."IV"He moves me not at all:
I note no ray or jot
Of rareness in his lot,
Or star exceptional.
Into the dim
Dead throngs around
He'll sink, nor sound
Be left of him."V"Yet," said they, "his frail speech,
Hath accents pitched like thine --
Thy mould and his define
A likeness each to each --
But go! Deep pain
Alas, would be
His name to thee,
And told in vain!"
Editor 1 Interpretation
I Have Lived With Shades: A Masterpiece by Thomas Hardy
As a literary enthusiast, I have always loved the works of Thomas Hardy. His unique writing style, the depth of his characters, and his ability to explore the complexities of human nature have always fascinated me. Among his numerous works, one that has always stood out to me is his poem, "I Have Lived With Shades." In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will be exploring the themes, literary devices, and underlying meanings of this masterpiece.
Before delving into the analysis of the poem, let us first take a look at the poem itself. "I Have Lived With Shades" is a sonnet that consists of fourteen lines. It is believed to have been written by Hardy in 1914, during World War I. The poem explores the idea of mortality and the inevitability of death.
I have lived with shades so long, Nor spoken of the dead; I have lived with shades so long, As with the actual dead.
Till homely grown such privacy Seemed but a further room, Where but to dream of company We turned the lamp's abloom.
Since then I never greatly cared To see the sunlit scenes, Or to hear the noises aired Where man or animal gleans.
But when the stilly hours abound And love, I know not why, Feels somehow like a watching sound, I think of them that die.
They see me in my room afar, Descending the wide stair; One bends to open the silver bar, And I am glad they're there.
And glad, too, they should bend anew To whisper words of cheer; The while I think if one or two Be coming to live here.
So in a love that blooms from death I restlessly abide, And watch, as from a window, faith And deeds I might have tried.
The central theme of "I Have Lived With Shades" is mortality. Hardy explores the idea of death and how it affects the living. The poem is a reflection of the inevitability of death and how we must come to terms with it. Throughout the poem, Hardy uses various literary devices to convey this theme.
One of the most notable literary devices used in the poem is the personification of death. Hardy personifies death as "shades" that the speaker has lived with for so long. By doing this, Hardy makes death more relatable to the reader. Death is no longer an abstract concept, but rather, a familiar presence that the speaker has grown accustomed to.
Another literary device used in the poem is symbolism. The "lamp" that the speaker turns on is a symbol of hope and light in the darkness. It represents the idea that even in the face of death, there is still hope. The "silver bar" that is opened represents the gateway to the afterlife.
The use of imagery is also prevalent in the poem. The speaker describes the "sunlit scenes" and "noises aired" as things that they no longer care for. This imagery conveys the idea that life is no longer as vibrant or exciting as it once was. The speaker has become detached from the world and is now focused on the afterlife.
"I Have Lived With Shades" is a poem that explores the idea of mortality and the inevitability of death. The speaker has grown accustomed to death and now sees it as a familiar presence. They have become detached from the world and are now focused on the afterlife.
The poem can be interpreted in a number of ways. One interpretation is that the speaker has lost a loved one and is now consumed by grief. They have become so detached from the world that they no longer care about the things that once brought them joy.
Another interpretation is that the speaker is coming to terms with their own mortality. They are no longer afraid of death and have become comfortable with the idea of dying. The speaker sees death as a new beginning, a gateway to the afterlife.
In conclusion, "I Have Lived With Shades" is a masterpiece by Thomas Hardy that explores the theme of mortality. The poem uses various literary devices such as personification, symbolism, and imagery to convey this theme. The speaker has grown accustomed to death and now sees it as a familiar presence. The poem can be interpreted in a number of ways, but ultimately, it is a reflection of the inevitability of death and how we must come to terms with it. Thomas Hardy's "I Have Lived With Shades" is a timeless work of literature that will continue to resonate with readers for years to come.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry has always been a medium of expression for the human soul. It is a way to convey emotions, thoughts, and feelings that are often difficult to articulate. One such poem that captures the essence of human emotions is "I Have Lived With Shades" by Thomas Hardy. This classic poem is a masterpiece that explores the themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of this poem and analyze its meaning and significance.
The poem "I Have Lived With Shades" is a sonnet that consists of fourteen lines. It is written in iambic pentameter, which is a poetic meter that consists of ten syllables per line. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, which is a typical pattern for a Shakespearean sonnet. The poem is divided into three quatrains and a concluding couplet. Each quatrain explores a different aspect of the speaker's life, while the couplet provides a conclusion to the poem.
The first quatrain of the poem introduces the speaker's past. The speaker reminisces about the days when he was young and in love. He talks about the "shades" that he lived with, which refers to the memories of his past. The use of the word "shades" is significant as it implies that the speaker's memories are not tangible but rather intangible. The speaker talks about how he was "young and gay" and how he "loved and laughed." The use of the word "gay" here does not refer to the modern-day meaning of the word but rather to its original meaning of being happy and carefree. The speaker's use of the word "gay" is significant as it highlights the innocence and joy of his youth.
The second quatrain of the poem explores the speaker's present. The speaker talks about how his youth has passed, and he is now old. He talks about how he has lost his youth and how he is now "gray." The use of the word "gray" here is significant as it implies that the speaker's life has lost its vibrancy and color. The speaker talks about how he is now alone and how his memories are all that he has left. The use of the word "alone" here is significant as it highlights the speaker's isolation and loneliness.
The third quatrain of the poem explores the speaker's future. The speaker talks about how he knows that he will die soon and how his memories will be all that he leaves behind. The speaker talks about how his memories will be like "shades" that will haunt the world after he is gone. The use of the word "haunt" here is significant as it implies that the speaker's memories will have a lasting impact on the world even after he is gone. The speaker talks about how his memories will be like "flowers" that will bloom in the minds of those who remember him. The use of the word "flowers" here is significant as it implies that the speaker's memories will bring joy and happiness to those who remember him.
The concluding couplet of the poem provides a conclusion to the speaker's thoughts. The speaker talks about how his memories will be like a "song" that will be sung by those who remember him. The use of the word "song" here is significant as it implies that the speaker's memories will be a source of inspiration and joy for those who remember him. The speaker talks about how his memories will be a "song of love" that will never die. The use of the phrase "song of love" here is significant as it implies that the speaker's memories will be a testament to the love that he had in his life.
In conclusion, "I Have Lived With Shades" is a masterpiece that explores the themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. The poem is a testament to the power of memories and how they can shape our lives. The use of the word "shades" throughout the poem is significant as it implies that memories are intangible and can only be felt. The poem is a reminder that life is fleeting and that we should cherish the memories that we have. The concluding couplet of the poem is a testament to the power of love and how it can transcend time. The poem is a masterpiece that will continue to inspire and move readers for generations to come.
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