'First Sight of Her and After' by Thomas Hardy
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A day is drawing to its fall
I had not dreamed to see;
The first of many to enthrall
My spirit, will it be?
Or is this eve the end of all
Such new delight for me?
I journey home:the pattern grows
Of moonshades on the way:
"Soon the first quarter, I suppose,"
Sky-glancing travellers say;
I realize that it, for those,
Has been a common day.
Editor 1 Interpretation
First Sight of Her and After by Thomas Hardy: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Thomas Hardy was one of the most celebrated writers of the 19th century, known for his unique style of presenting the harsh realities of life through his works. In his collection of poems, one of the most notable pieces is "First Sight of Her and After". This poem is a beautiful portrayal of love and its transformation, capturing the essence of human emotions and the evolution of relationships.
"First Sight of Her and After" is a two-part poem that explores the journey of a man's love for a woman. The poem is divided into two parts, "First Sight of Her" and "After", which are connected by the theme of love. In the first part of the poem, the speaker describes his first encounter with the woman and the intensity of his emotions. In the second part, the speaker reflects on the changes that have taken place in his love for her over time.
Part One: First Sight of Her
The first part of the poem is a vivid description of the speaker's first encounter with the woman he loves. The language used in this section is rich in sensory imagery, creating a sense of intimacy and passion. The speaker describes his feelings as "a shock", conveying the suddenness and intensity of his emotions. The use of the word "shock" also suggests that the speaker was not expecting to feel such a strong connection with the woman.
The speaker's description of the woman is also very detailed, highlighting her physical beauty and the effect it has on him. He describes her "full brown hair" and "bright brown eyes", suggesting her attractiveness and vitality. The use of the word "full" to describe her hair also suggests a sense of abundance and richness.
The second stanza of this section is particularly significant, as it depicts the speaker's emotional reaction to seeing the woman. He describes feeling "a strange delight" and "a sense of dread", implying that his emotions are both exhilarating and overwhelming. The use of the word "strange" suggests that the speaker is not quite sure what he is feeling, adding to the sense of confusion and uncertainty.
Part Two: After
The second part of the poem is a reflection on the changes that have taken place in the speaker's love for the woman over time. The tone of this section is more reflective and introspective, with the speaker contemplating the evolution of his emotions.
The first stanza of this section is particularly poignant, as the speaker acknowledges the passing of time and the impact it has had on his love. He describes how "the new has worn away", suggesting that the initial excitement and intensity of his emotions have faded over time. The use of the word "worn" also suggests a sense of erosion and decay, highlighting the ephemeral nature of human emotions.
Despite the changes that have taken place, the speaker still harbors feelings of love for the woman. He describes how his love has become "a calm content", suggesting a sense of stability and comfort. The use of the word "calm" implies a sense of tranquility and ease, while the word "content" suggests a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
The final stanza of the poem is particularly significant, as it encapsulates the central theme of the poem. The speaker acknowledges that his love for the woman has changed over time, but he still cherishes the memory of their first encounter. He describes how "the vision of the past" still lingers, suggesting that the intensity of his emotions has not completely faded. The use of the word "vision" also implies a sense of clarity and vividness, highlighting the power of memory.
"First Sight of Her and After" is a powerful exploration of the nature of love and its transformation over time. The poem suggests that love is a complex and multifaceted emotion that changes and evolves as we experience life's ups and downs.
The first part of the poem captures the intensity and excitement of falling in love, highlighting the power of attraction and the impact it can have on our emotions. The use of vivid sensory imagery creates a sense of intimacy and passion, drawing the reader into the speaker's experience.
The second part of the poem is a reflection on the evolution of love, highlighting the impact of time on our emotions. The poem suggests that love is not a static emotion, but rather one that changes and evolves as we experience the highs and lows of life. The use of the word "calm" in this section implies that love can also be a source of stability and comfort, providing a sense of security and fulfillment.
Overall, "First Sight of Her and After" is a poignant and powerful exploration of the nature of love and its transformation over time. The poem captures the complexity and richness of human emotions, highlighting the power of attraction and the impact of time on our relationships. It is a beautiful and timeless work that speaks to the universal human experience of love and its evolution.
In conclusion, "First Sight of Her and After" is a masterpiece of poetry that explores the nature of love and its transformation over time. The poem is a powerful and poignant reflection on the complexity and richness of human emotions, capturing the intense passion of falling in love and the evolution of relationships over time. Through its vivid sensory imagery and introspective tone, the poem speaks to the universal human experience of love and its impact on our lives. It is a timeless and beautiful work that continues to resonate with readers today, cementing Thomas Hardy's place as one of the most celebrated writers of the 19th century.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry is a form of art that has the power to evoke emotions and feelings in the reader. It is a medium that allows the poet to express their thoughts and ideas in a creative and imaginative way. One such poet who has left an indelible mark on the world of poetry is Thomas Hardy. His poems are known for their vivid imagery, emotional depth, and powerful themes. In this article, we will be analyzing two of his most famous poems, "First Sight of Her" and "After."
"First Sight of Her" is a poem that captures the moment when the speaker first lays eyes on the woman who will become the love of his life. The poem begins with the speaker describing the setting, which is a beautiful landscape with a river flowing through it. He then sees the woman and is immediately struck by her beauty. The speaker describes her as "fair," "graceful," and "radiant." He is so taken by her that he cannot take his eyes off her.
The poem is written in a lyrical style, with a rhythm that mimics the flow of the river. The use of imagery is particularly effective in this poem. The river is described as "glittering," "sparkling," and "dancing." These words create a sense of movement and energy, which is mirrored in the speaker's emotions. The woman is also described in terms of nature, with her hair being compared to "sunlit wheat" and her eyes to "violet buds."
The poem is also notable for its use of repetition. The phrase "I saw her" is repeated several times throughout the poem, emphasizing the speaker's fixation on the woman. The repetition also creates a sense of urgency and intensity, as if the speaker cannot contain his emotions.
Overall, "First Sight of Her" is a beautiful and romantic poem that captures the excitement and wonder of falling in love. The use of imagery and repetition creates a vivid and emotional experience for the reader.
The second poem we will be analyzing is "After." This poem is a stark contrast to "First Sight of Her," as it deals with the aftermath of a failed relationship. The poem begins with the speaker describing the setting, which is a bleak and desolate landscape. The use of imagery is particularly effective in this poem, with the landscape being described as "grey," "cold," and "barren." These words create a sense of emptiness and despair, which is mirrored in the speaker's emotions.
The poem is written in a more somber and reflective style than "First Sight of Her." The rhythm is slower and more deliberate, reflecting the speaker's contemplative mood. The use of repetition is also present in this poem, with the phrase "I thought of her" being repeated several times. However, in this context, the repetition creates a sense of longing and regret, rather than excitement and wonder.
The poem is notable for its use of metaphor. The speaker compares his heart to a "withered leaf" and his love to a "frost-killed flower." These metaphors create a sense of loss and sadness, as if the speaker's emotions have been frozen and left to wither away.
Overall, "After" is a poignant and melancholic poem that captures the pain and sorrow of a failed relationship. The use of imagery and metaphor creates a vivid and emotional experience for the reader.
In conclusion, Thomas Hardy's poems "First Sight of Her" and "After" are two examples of his mastery of the art of poetry. These poems capture the full range of human emotions, from the excitement and wonder of falling in love to the pain and sorrow of a failed relationship. The use of imagery, repetition, and metaphor creates a vivid and emotional experience for the reader. These poems are a testament to the power of poetry to evoke emotions and feelings in the reader, and to the enduring legacy of Thomas Hardy as one of the greatest poets of all time.
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