'Between Us Now' by Thomas Hardy

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Poems of the Past and the Present1901Between us now and here--Two thrown togetherWho are not wont to wearLife's flushest feather--Who see the scenes slide past,The daytimes dimming fast,Let there be truth at last,Even if despair.So thoroughly and longHave you now known me,So real in faith and strongHave I now shown me,That nothing needs disguiseFurther in any wise,Or asks or justifiesA guarded tongue.Face unto face, then, say,Eyes my own meeting,Is your heart far away,Or with mine beating?When false things are brought low,And swift things have grown slow,Feigning like froth shall go,Faith be for aye.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Between Us Now by Thomas Hardy: A Deeper Dive

As soon as I read Between Us Now by Thomas Hardy, I was immediately captivated by its hauntingly beautiful verses. The poem is simple yet profound, and one can't help but feel a sense of melancholy yet nostalgia when reading it. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will analyze the poem's themes, literary devices, and overall meaning.

Theme Analysis

The theme of Between Us Now revolves around love, loss, and the passing of time. Hardy reflects on a past love that has now faded away, leaving nothing but memories. The poem's title, Between Us Now, implies that there was once a connection between the speaker and the person they address, but it has now been broken. The poem's opening line sets the tone for the rest of the poem - "Between us now and here - Two thrown together." This line suggests that the speaker and their lover were once together, but they are now separated by time and distance.

Throughout the poem, Hardy explores the idea that time can erode even the strongest relationships. The lines "What might have been, or what has been, / Point to one end, which is always present" suggest that the past and the future are connected in the present. The speaker is haunted by memories of what happened in the past and what could have been, but they are unable to change either. They are left with nothing but regrets and longing.

Literary Device Analysis

Hardy makes use of several literary devices in Between Us Now to convey the poem's themes. One of the most prominent devices is imagery. The poem is filled with vivid and evocative descriptions that paint a picture of the speaker's emotions. For example, the lines "The gardens and the gardener, / The manor-house, and sloping lawn" create a mental image of a grand estate that has now been abandoned. This image represents the speaker's lost love, which was once beautiful and grand but has now been left to decay.

Another literary device used in the poem is repetition. The phrase "Between us now" is repeated several times throughout the poem, emphasizing the distance between the speaker and their lover. This repetition creates a sense of finality - the relationship is over, and there is no going back.

Hardy also makes use of symbolism in the poem. The line "The past is cancelled: in the forward pass / I fear we'll meet no more" suggests that the past is a book that has been closed and put away. The idea of time as a book is a symbol for the speaker's lost love - it was once a beautiful story, but now it is over.

Overall Meaning

The overall meaning of Between Us Now is that love is fleeting and time is relentless. The speaker is left with nothing but memories of their lost love, and they are unable to change the past or the future. The poem is a reflection on the transience of life, and the fact that nothing lasts forever.

Despite the poem's melancholic tone, there is also a sense of acceptance and resignation. The speaker knows that their love is over and that they must move on. The final lines of the poem - "But if you still remember, / Stop and look back, and smile / On me, who have not forgotten / If you, too, feel that way, for a while." - suggest that the speaker has come to terms with their loss and is willing to remember their past love with fondness.


In conclusion, Between Us Now is a hauntingly beautiful poem that explores the themes of love, loss, and the passing of time. Thomas Hardy's use of literary devices such as imagery, repetition, and symbolism creates a vivid and evocative picture of the speaker's emotions. The poem's overall meaning is a reflection on the transience of life and the fact that nothing lasts forever. Despite its melancholic tone, there is also a sense of acceptance and resignation that makes the poem all the more poignant. Between Us Now is a timeless work of poetry that will continue to resonate with readers for generations to come.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Between Us Now: A Masterpiece by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy, the renowned English novelist and poet, is known for his works that explore the complexities of human relationships and the struggles of life. One of his most celebrated poems, Poetry Between Us Now, is a masterpiece that captures the essence of love, loss, and the power of memories.

The poem, written in 1913, is a reflection on the past and the present, and the emotions that bind them together. It is a conversation between two lovers who have been separated by time and distance, but whose memories of each other are still vivid and alive.

The poem opens with the speaker addressing his lover, reminiscing about the days when they were together. He talks about the moments they shared, the laughter and the tears, and the love that they had for each other. He speaks of the poetry that they shared, the words that flowed between them, and the emotions that they expressed.

The speaker then goes on to describe the present, the distance that separates them, and the emptiness that he feels without his lover. He talks about the passing of time, the changes that have occurred, and the memories that he holds dear.

The poem is a beautiful exploration of the power of memories and the way they shape our lives. It is a reminder that even though we may be separated from the ones we love, the memories we hold of them can keep them alive in our hearts and minds.

The use of language in the poem is exquisite, with Hardy’s mastery of words and imagery shining through. The poem is full of metaphors and similes that add depth and meaning to the words. For example, the speaker describes the memories of his lover as “a rose in a book, / A leaf in a tome, / A moth-eaten cloak, / A word outworn.”

These images evoke a sense of nostalgia and longing, as the speaker remembers the past and the love that he shared with his lover. The use of the metaphor of a moth-eaten cloak also suggests the fragility of memories, and how they can be easily lost or forgotten.

The poem also explores the theme of loss, as the speaker talks about the emptiness that he feels without his lover. He describes the present as “a void where you were,” and talks about the way that his life has changed since they were together.

However, the poem is not just about loss and longing. It is also a celebration of the power of love and the way that it can endure even when we are apart. The speaker talks about the poetry that they shared, and how it still connects them even though they are separated.

He says, “The poems that we read / Are echoes of what / We felt when we were wed, / As though they were not / Of inland origin, / But sucked from out the sea, / Where Love and Romance reign / And dictate poetry.”

This passage is a beautiful tribute to the power of love and the way that it can inspire creativity and art. It suggests that the love that the speaker shared with his lover was not just a personal experience, but something that was connected to a larger, universal force.

In conclusion, Poetry Between Us Now is a masterpiece of English literature that explores the complexities of human relationships and the power of memories. It is a poem that speaks to the heart, evoking a sense of nostalgia, longing, and love.

Hardy’s use of language and imagery is exquisite, and the poem is a testament to his mastery of the craft of poetry. It is a work that has stood the test of time, and continues to inspire and move readers today.

If you have not yet read Poetry Between Us Now, I highly recommend that you do. It is a work of art that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it, and will remind you of the power of love and the beauty of the human experience.

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