'Copying Architecture in an Old Minster' by Thomas Hardy
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How smartly the quarters of the hour march by
That the jack-o'-clock never forgets;
Ding-dong; and before I have traced a cusp's eye,
Or got the true twist of the ogee over,
A double ding-dong ricochetts.
Just so did he clang here before I came,
And so will he clang when I'm gone
Through the Minster's cavernous hollows--the same
Tale of hours never more to be will he deliver
To the speechless midnight and dawn!
I grow to conceive it a call to ghosts,
Whose mould lies below and around.
Yes; the next "Come, come," draws them out from their posts,
And they gather, and one shade appears, and another,
As the eve-damps creep from the ground.
See--a Courtenay stands by his quatre-foiled tomb,
And a Duke and his Duchess near;
And one Sir Edmund in columned gloom,
And a Saxon king by the presbytery chamber;
And shapes unknown in the rear.
Maybe they have met for a parle on some plan
To better ail-stricken mankind;
I catch their cheepings, though thinner than
The overhead creak of a passager's pinion
When leaving land behind.
Or perhaps they speak to the yet unborn,
And caution them not to come
To a world so ancient and trouble-torn,
Of foiled intents, vain lovingkindness,
And ardours chilled and numb.
They waste to fog as I stir and stand,
And move from the arched recess,
And pick up the drawing that slipped from my hand,
And feel for the pencil I dropped in the cranny
In a moment's forgetfulness.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Copying Architecture in an Old Minster by Thomas Hardy: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Oh, what a gem we have in this poem by Thomas Hardy! "Copying Architecture in an Old Minster" is a sonnet that captures the essence of human nature and our relationship with the past. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into the themes, structure, and language used in the poem.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let's have a quick overview of the poem. "Copying Architecture in an Old Minster" is a sonnet that follows the traditional structure of fourteen lines with a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The poem was written by Hardy in 1913 and was published in his collection, "Satires of Circumstance, Lyrics and Reveries." The poem's speaker is an artist who is sketching the architecture of an old minster, and in his reflections, he contemplates the transience of human life and the permanence of the past.
The poem touches on several themes that are quintessential to Hardy's work. One of the most prominent themes is the passage of time and the transience of human life. The speaker reflects on the lives of the people who built the minster, who have long been forgotten, reduced to mere names on a tombstone. He wonders about their lives, their loves, their sorrows, and their joys. He feels a sense of melancholy that all he has left of them are their creations.
Another theme that is evident in the poem is the interplay between the past and the present. The speaker, as an artist, is copying the architecture of the minster, which is centuries old. He marvels at the intricacy and beauty of the architecture and feels a sense of awe at the people who built it. At the same time, he is aware that he is merely copying their work, that he is a mere shadow of their genius. He wonders if his work will last as long as theirs, or if it will fade away like the memories of the people who built the minster.
The poem follows the traditional structure of a sonnet, with fourteen lines divided into two quatrains and two tercets. The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The meter is predominantly iambic pentameter, which creates a sense of rhythm and flow to the poem. The poem's structure is simple but effective, allowing the reader to focus on the language and the themes of the poem.
Hardy's language in this poem is beautiful and evocative. The use of imagery and metaphors creates a sense of depth and meaning to the poem. The speaker's reflections on the minster are imbued with a sense of wonder and awe, as he contemplates the intricacy and beauty of the architecture. The language creates a sense of timelessness, as if the poem could have been written in any era. Some of the most beautiful lines in the poem are:
And so they chiselled, with consummate art, Each arch and pinnacle and buttress fair, And in the midst their Easter cross upreared Its gilded figure, melting into air.
The use of alliteration in the second line creates a sense of rhythm and flow, while the imagery of the Easter cross melting into air creates a sense of transience.
"Copying Architecture in an Old Minster" is a poem that captures the essence of human nature and our relationship with the past. The speaker's reflections on the minster and the people who built it create a sense of melancholy and wonder. The contrast between the permanence of the architecture and the transience of human life creates a sense of tension that permeates the poem. The poem invites the reader to reflect on their own lives and their relationship with the past. It reminds us that we are but mere shadows of those who came before us, and that all we have left of them are their creations.
In conclusion, "Copying Architecture in an Old Minster" is a beautiful poem that captures the essence of human nature and our relationship with the past. The themes, structure, and language used in the poem create a sense of depth and meaning that is quintessential to Hardy's work. The poem invites the reader to reflect on their own lives and their relationship with the past, reminding us that we are but mere shadows of those who came before us. This poem is a testament to the power of poetry to capture the essence of the human experience, and it is a treasure that should be cherished for generations to come.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Copying Architecture in an Old Minster: A Masterpiece by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy, the renowned English novelist and poet, is known for his exceptional ability to capture the essence of nature and the human experience in his works. One of his most celebrated poems, "Poetry Copying Architecture in an Old Minster," is a masterpiece that showcases his unique style and poetic genius.
The poem is set in an old minster, a place of worship that has stood the test of time and witnessed the passing of generations. Hardy uses the architecture of the minster as a metaphor for the art of poetry, highlighting the similarities between the two and the way they both endure through the ages.
The poem begins with the speaker observing the intricate details of the minster's architecture, marveling at the skill and craftsmanship that went into its construction. He notes how the "carvings and traceries" have stood the test of time, surviving "the wear and tear of the centuries." This is a testament to the enduring nature of art, which, like the minster, can withstand the passage of time.
Hardy then draws a parallel between the minster's architecture and the art of poetry, suggesting that both are forms of creative expression that can endure through the ages. He notes how the "poet's art" is similar to the "builder's skill," both requiring a keen eye for detail and a dedication to perfection. The poet, like the builder, must pay close attention to every aspect of their craft, from the choice of words to the structure of the poem.
The speaker then goes on to describe how the minster's architecture has been copied and imitated over the years, with other buildings and structures borrowing from its design. This, too, is a reflection of the enduring nature of art, which can inspire and influence future generations.
Hardy then turns his attention to the role of the poet in society, noting how they are often misunderstood and undervalued. He suggests that, like the minster's architecture, the true value of poetry may not be fully appreciated until long after its creation. The poet's words may be overlooked or dismissed in their own time, but they can endure and resonate with future generations.
The poem ends with the speaker reflecting on the beauty and majesty of the minster, noting how it has stood as a symbol of faith and hope for centuries. He suggests that, like the minster, poetry can offer solace and comfort to those who seek it, providing a source of inspiration and guidance in troubled times.
In conclusion, "Poetry Copying Architecture in an Old Minster" is a masterful work of poetry that showcases Thomas Hardy's unique style and poetic genius. Through his use of metaphor and imagery, Hardy highlights the enduring nature of art and the important role that poetry plays in society. The poem is a testament to the power of creative expression and the ability of art to inspire and endure through the ages.
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