'An Ancient To Ancients' by Thomas Hardy
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Late Lyrics and Earlier1922Where once we danced, where once we sang,Gentlemen,The floors are sunken, cobwebs hang,And cracks creep; worms have fed uponThe doors. Yea, sprightlier times were thenThan now, with harps and tabrets gone,Gentlemen!Where once we rowed, where once we sailed,Gentlemen,And damsels took the tiller, veiledAgainst too strong a stare (God wotTheir fancy, then or anywhen!)Upon that shore we are clean forgot,Gentlemen!We have lost somewhat of that, afar and near,Gentlemen,The thinning of our ranks each yearAffords a hint we are nigh undone,That shall not be ever againThe marked of many, loved of one,Gentlemen.In dance the polka hit our wish,Gentlemen,The paced quadrille, the spry schottische,"Sir Roger."--And in opera spheresThe "Girl" (the famed "Bohemian"),And "Trovatore" held the ears,Gentlemen.This season's paintings do not please,GentlemenLike Etty, Mulready, Maclise;Throbbing romance had waned and wanned;No wizard wields the witching penOf Bulwer, Scott, Dumas, and Sand,Gentlemen.The bower we shrined to Tennyson,Gentlemen,Is roof-wrecked; damps there drip uponSagged seats, the creeper-nails are rust,The spider is sole denizen;Even she who voiced those rhymes is dust,Gentlemen!We who met sunrise sanguine-souled,Gentlemen,Are wearing weary. We are old;These younger press; we feel our routIs imminent to Aïdes' den,--That evening shades are stretching out,Gentlemen!And yet, though ours be failing frames,Gentlemen,So were some others' history names,Who trode their track light-limbed and fastAs these youth, and not alienFrom enterprise, to their long last,Gentlemen.Sophocles, Plato, Socrates,Gentlemen,Pythagoras, Thucydides,Herodotus, and Homer,--yea,Clement, Augustin, Origen,Burnt brightlier towards their setting-day,Gentlemen.And ye, red-lipped and smooth-browed; list,Gentlemen;Much is there waits you we have missed;Much lore we leave you worth the knowing,Much, much has lain outside our ken;Nay, rush not: time serves: we are going,Gentlemen.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Poetry, An Ancient To Ancients: A Masterpiece by Thomas Hardy
As a literary genius and a man of immense talent, Thomas Hardy has always been known for his brilliant writing skills in the field of poetry. Among his many masterpieces, "Poetry, An Ancient To Ancients" stands as a testament to his exceptional literary prowess. This poem, with its deep meaning and intricate structure, is a true masterpiece that continues to captivate readers even today. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the various dimensions of this poem, including its themes, form, and language, and understand why it is considered as one of Hardy's finest works.
"Poetry, An Ancient To Ancients" is a poem that reflects on the nature of poetry and its purpose. It is a commentary on the evolution of poetry over centuries, from its earliest forms to the present day. Through this poem, Hardy examines the various aspects of poetry, including its impact on society, its relationship with history, and its ability to transcend time and culture.
One of the central themes of "Poetry, An Ancient To Ancients" is the idea of timelessness. Hardy argues that poetry has the ability to transcend time and culture, and to convey universal truths that are relevant across generations. He writes, "And in the future, up the flight / Of years, the unborn shall find / The same fair forms their fathers knew, / The same enchantments to the view" (lines 43-46). This theme is reinforced by the structure of the poem, which begins with a reference to ancient poetry and ends with a reflection on the future of poetry.
Another theme that runs through the poem is the idea of poetry as a reflection of society. Hardy argues that poetry is not just a form of art, but a mirror of the society in which it is created. He writes, "For what the poets' frenzy meant / In simple towns was plain enough; / It meant revolt, and discontent, / And vain though glorious boast and bluff" (lines 23-26). Through this theme, Hardy emphasizes the importance of poetry in understanding the social and cultural context of a particular era.
The structure of "Poetry, An Ancient To Ancients" is an important aspect of the poem's meaning. Hardy uses a series of quatrains, with an alternating rhyme scheme, to create a sense of balance and symmetry. The use of rhyme and meter also gives the poem a musical quality, which adds to its aesthetic appeal.
But it is not just the rhyme scheme that is important. The poem is divided into three parts, with each part focusing on a different aspect of poetry. The first part is a reflection on ancient poetry, the second part looks at the poetry of the present, and the third part explores the future of poetry. The use of this structure creates a sense of progression, as the poem moves from the past to the present to the future. This structure also reinforces the theme of timelessness, as it shows that poetry has evolved over time, but its essential qualities remain the same.
The language of "Poetry, An Ancient To Ancients" is another important aspect of the poem. Hardy uses a range of literary devices, including metaphor, personification, and allusion, to create a complex and layered text. For example, in the first stanza, he describes poetry as a "maiden" who "her radiant zone / Unclasps, and throws on, with her own / White hands, the glory of her throne" (lines 1-3). This metaphorical language creates a sense of beauty and grandeur, and emphasizes the importance of poetry in human culture.
Hardy also uses personification to give life to abstract concepts. He writes, "And Time, that takes survey of all, / The landscape of his cryptic hall / With weeping recognizeth / Love's footprints on the floor of death" (lines 35-38). Here, time is personified as a figure who weeps at the passing of love. This language creates a sense of empathy and understanding, and emphasizes the emotional power of poetry.
"Poetry, An Ancient To Ancients" is a poem that rewards careful reading and interpretation. It is a complex text that can be read in many different ways, depending on the reader's interpretation. However, one possible interpretation is that the poem is a reflection on the enduring power of poetry.
Hardy argues that poetry is not just a form of art, but a reflection of society and a means of conveying universal truths. He shows that poetry has evolved over time, but its essential qualities remain the same. Through his use of language and structure, Hardy creates a sense of timelessness and universality that speaks to the enduring power of poetry.
"Poetry, An Ancient To Ancients" is a true masterpiece of poetry. Through its intricate structure, complex language, and profound themes, Hardy creates a powerful reflection on the nature and purpose of poetry. The poem is a testament to Hardy's exceptional writing skills, and it continues to captivate readers even today. As we reflect on the enduring power of poetry, we can appreciate the timeless beauty of this exceptional work of literature.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry has always been a medium for expressing the deepest emotions and thoughts of the human mind. It is an art form that has been passed down from generation to generation, and has evolved over time. One of the most celebrated poets of the 19th century, Thomas Hardy, wrote a poem titled "An Ancient to Ancients" that is a testament to the power of poetry and its ability to transcend time.
The poem is a conversation between an ancient poet and the poets of the present day. The ancient poet speaks of the power of poetry and how it has the ability to connect people across time and space. He speaks of the beauty of nature and how it has inspired poets throughout the ages. He also speaks of the importance of preserving the past and the wisdom that can be gained from it.
The poem begins with the ancient poet addressing the poets of the present day. He speaks of how he has been forgotten by the world and how his poetry has been lost to time. However, he is not bitter about this and instead speaks of the power of poetry to transcend time and connect people across generations.
He speaks of how his poetry was inspired by the beauty of nature and how it was a reflection of the world around him. He speaks of how the poets of the present day are still inspired by the same beauty and how they too are a reflection of the world around them.
The ancient poet then speaks of the importance of preserving the past and the wisdom that can be gained from it. He speaks of how the poets of the present day can learn from the mistakes of the past and how they can use this knowledge to create a better future.
He also speaks of the power of poetry to bring people together and to create a sense of community. He speaks of how his poetry was able to connect people across time and space and how the poets of the present day have the same ability.
The poem ends with the ancient poet speaking of his hope for the future. He speaks of how he hopes that the poets of the present day will continue to be inspired by the beauty of nature and how they will continue to use poetry to connect people across time and space.
In conclusion, "An Ancient to Ancients" is a powerful testament to the power of poetry and its ability to transcend time. Thomas Hardy's poem speaks of the importance of preserving the past and the wisdom that can be gained from it. It also speaks of the power of poetry to bring people together and to create a sense of community. The poem is a reminder that poetry is not just a form of entertainment, but a powerful tool for connecting people and creating a better world.
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