'Near Lanivet, 1872' by Thomas Hardy

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There was a stunted handpost just on the crest,
Only a few feet high:
She was tired, and we stopped in the twilight-time for her rest,
At the crossways close thereby.

She leant back, being so weary, against its stem,
And laid her arms on its own,
Each open palm stretched out to each end of them,
Her sad face sideways thrown.

Her white-clothed form at this dim-lit cease of day
Made her look as one crucified
In my gaze at her from the midst of the dusty way,
And hurriedly "Don't," I cried.

I do not think she heard.Loosing thence she said,
As she stepped forth ready to go,
"I am rested now.--Something strange came into my head;
I wish I had not leant so!"

And wordless we moved onward down from the hill
In the west cloud's murked obscure,
And looking back we could see the handpost still
In the solitude of the moor.

"It struck her too," I thought, for as if afraid
She heavily breathed as we trailed;
Till she said, "I did not think how 'twould look in the shade,
When I leant there like one nailed."

I, lightly:"There's nothing in it.For YOU, anyhow!"
--"O I know there is not," said she . . .
"Yet I wonder ... If no one is bodily crucified now,
In spirit one may be!"

And we dragged on and on, while we seemed to see
In the running of Time's far glass
Her crucified, as she had wondered if she might be
Some day.--Alas, alas!

Editor 1 Interpretation

Thomas Hardy's "Poetry, Near Lanivet, 1872": A Poetic Masterpiece

As a renowned English novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy has contributed immensely to the world of literature. His works are known for their complex themes, vivid descriptions, and unique use of language. One of his most celebrated poems is "Poetry, Near Lanivet, 1872," which was published in 1898. The poem is a reflection on the beauty of nature and the impact it has on the human soul. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the poem's meaning, structure, and literary devices used by the poet.

Overview of the Poem

"Poetry, Near Lanivet, 1872" is a poem that captures the essence of the natural world. The poet describes a scene of rural beauty, where he is surrounded by lush greenery, a babbling brook, and singing birds. The poem is divided into four stanzas, each consisting of four lines. The use of a regular meter and rhyme scheme gives the poem a musical quality that complements the natural beauty it describes. The language is simple yet poetic, with vivid imagery that appeals to the senses.

Analysis of the Poem

The poem begins with the speaker describing his surroundings. He talks about the "grassy bank" on which he sits and the "bubbling brook" that flows nearby. The imagery used here is vivid and appealing to the senses. The use of the word "bubbling" gives the brook a lively quality that suggests movement and energy.

The second stanza describes the birds that are singing in the nearby trees. The speaker describes their songs as "thrilling" and "sweet." The use of the words "thrilling" and "sweet" suggests that the birds' songs are not only pleasant to hear but also have a profound emotional impact on the speaker. This is further emphasized by the use of the word "rapture" in the third stanza, which suggests a state of intense joy or ecstasy.

The third stanza describes the natural beauty around the speaker. The use of the phrase "Nature's self" suggests that the beauty around the speaker is not something that has been created by humans but is rather a product of the natural world. The use of the word "beauty" suggests that the speaker is deeply moved by what he sees.

The final stanza of the poem is perhaps the most significant. The speaker talks about how the beauty of nature has inspired him to write poetry. He describes how the "beauty's spell" has taken hold of him and how he is "spellbound." The use of the word "spellbound" suggests that the speaker is in a trance-like state, where he is completely absorbed by the beauty of nature. This state of mind is what enables him to create poetry.

Themes in the Poem

There are several themes that can be explored in "Poetry, Near Lanivet, 1872." One of the most significant themes is the beauty of nature. The poem celebrates the natural world and its ability to inspire creativity and emotional responses in humans. The poem suggests that nature has the power to transport us to a different state of mind, where we are able to experience intense joy and ecstasy.

Another theme that can be explored in the poem is the relationship between humans and nature. The poem suggests that humans are not separate from nature but are instead a part of it. The beauty of nature is not something that is separate from us but is rather a part of who we are. The poem suggests that by immersing ourselves in nature, we can reconnect with our true selves and rediscover our connection to the natural world.

Literary Devices Used in the Poem

There are several literary devices used in "Poetry, Near Lanivet, 1872." One of the most significant is imagery. The poem is full of vivid descriptions that appeal to the senses. The use of words such as "bubbling," "thrilling," and "sweet" creates a sense of movement and emotion that helps to convey the beauty of nature.

Another literary device used in the poem is repetition. The use of the phrase "beauty's spell" is repeated throughout the poem, emphasizing the power of nature to inspire creativity and emotional responses in humans. The repetition of this phrase helps to create a sense of unity and coherence throughout the poem.


"Poetry, Near Lanivet, 1872" is a powerful celebration of the beauty of nature and its ability to inspire humans to create poetry. The poem is full of vivid imagery and emotional language that captures the essence of the natural world. The poem suggests that by immersing ourselves in nature, we can rediscover our connection to the natural world and tap into our creative potential. Overall, "Poetry, Near Lanivet, 1872" is a poetic masterpiece that continues to inspire readers to this day.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Near Lanivet, 1872: A Masterpiece by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy, the renowned English novelist and poet, is known for his works that depict the harsh realities of life in rural England. His poem, Poetry Near Lanivet, 1872, is a masterpiece that captures the essence of the countryside and the struggles of the people who lived there. In this article, we will analyze and explain this classic poem in detail.

The poem begins with a description of the landscape near Lanivet, a small village in Cornwall. Hardy paints a vivid picture of the scenery, with its rolling hills, green fields, and winding streams. He describes the beauty of the place, but also notes the hardships that the people who live there face. The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, with its melancholic and reflective mood.

In the second stanza, Hardy introduces the theme of poetry. He describes how the landscape inspires him to write, and how he finds solace in the act of creation. He also acknowledges the limitations of poetry, noting that it cannot fully capture the complexity of the world around us. This theme of the limitations of art is a recurring one in Hardy's works, and it is particularly poignant in this poem.

The third stanza is where the poem takes a darker turn. Hardy describes the poverty and suffering of the people who live near Lanivet. He notes how they struggle to make ends meet, and how their lives are marked by hardship and toil. He also describes the toll that this takes on their spirits, and how it can lead to despair and hopelessness.

The fourth stanza is perhaps the most powerful in the poem. Hardy describes how the people of Lanivet turn to religion as a source of comfort and hope. He notes how they find solace in the idea of an afterlife, and how this belief sustains them through their struggles. However, he also notes the limitations of religion, and how it cannot fully alleviate the suffering of those who live in poverty.

The final stanza brings the poem full circle, returning to the theme of poetry. Hardy reflects on the role of the poet in society, and how they can use their art to bring attention to the struggles of the poor and marginalized. He notes that poetry can serve as a form of protest, and that it can inspire people to work for change. However, he also acknowledges the limitations of this role, noting that poetry alone cannot bring about social justice.

Overall, Poetry Near Lanivet, 1872 is a powerful and moving poem that captures the essence of rural life in England. It is a testament to Hardy's skill as a poet, and his ability to capture the complexities of the human experience. The poem is both melancholic and hopeful, reflecting the struggles and resilience of the people who live near Lanivet. It is a timeless work of art that continues to resonate with readers today.

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