'We Sat at The Window' by Thomas Hardy

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We sat at the window looking out,
And the rain came down like silken strings
That Swithin's day.Each gutter and spout
Babbled unchecked in the busy way
Of witless things:
Nothing to read, nothing to see
Seemed in that room for her and me
On Swithin's day.

We were irked by the scene, by our own selves; yes,
For I did not know, nor did she infer
How much there was to read and guess
By her in me, and to see and crown
By me in her.
Wasted were two souls in their prime,
And great was the waste, that July time
When the rain came down.

Editor 1 Interpretation

We Sat at The Window: A Masterful Poem by Thomas Hardy

As I sit down to write about Thomas Hardy's "We Sat at The Window," I find myself struggling to contain my excitement. This is a poem that has resonated with me since the first time I read it, and every subsequent reading has only deepened my appreciation for its beauty and emotional power. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will explore what makes this poem so special, delving into its themes, structure, and language to offer a comprehensive analysis of one of Hardy's most masterful works.

Overview and Context

Before diving into the poem itself, it's worth taking a moment to provide some context for both Thomas Hardy as a writer and the broader literary landscape of his era. Hardy was a prolific novelist and poet who lived from 1840 to 1928, and is perhaps best known for his novels such as "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" and "Jude the Obscure." However, he was also a deeply talented poet, and his works in this form are often overshadowed by his prose.

"We Sat at The Window" was published in Hardy's 1901 collection "Poems of the Past and the Present," a time when the poet was grappling with the loss of his first wife, Emma. This loss had a profound impact on Hardy and his work, and many of his poems from this period deal with themes of love, loss, and the transience of life.


One of the most striking aspects of "We Sat at The Window" is the way it explores the theme of memory and its relationship to time. The poem opens with the speaker reminiscing about a past moment of happiness, a time when he and his lover "sat at the window, / You and I." This moment is presented as idyllic and almost otherworldly, a time when the outside world seemed to fade away and the two lovers were lost in their own private reverie.

However, as the poem progresses, it becomes clear that this moment is firmly rooted in the past, and that the speaker's memory of it is tinged with sadness and regret. He acknowledges that "Time has brought disaster" and that the "happiness" he remembers is now forever out of reach. This juxtaposition of past joy and present sorrow creates a powerful sense of nostalgia and loss, highlighting the fleeting nature of happiness and the inevitability of change.

Another key theme of the poem is the contrast between inside and outside, and the way that the two are interconnected. The lovers are "sheltered from the blast," safe and warm inside their home, while the world outside is presented as chaotic and dangerous. However, this sense of safety and security is ultimately illusory, as the outside world inevitably intrudes and disrupts their idyll. The storm that rages outside is symbolic not just of the natural world, but of the forces of change and loss that threaten to destroy the lovers' happiness.


The structure of "We Sat at The Window" is deceptively simple, consisting of four stanzas of four lines each. However, within this simple structure, Hardy employs a range of techniques to create a sense of tension and movement.

One of the most notable features of the poem is its use of repetition, with the phrase "You and I" appearing at the end of each line in the first three stanzas. This repetition creates a sense of intimacy and unity between the lovers, while also underscoring the idea that their happiness is rooted in their connection to each other. However, in the final stanza, this repetition is broken, highlighting the sense of loss and separation that now exists between the two.

Another key technique Hardy uses is his use of imagery, particularly in the second and third stanzas. The image of the "drowned, unhappy leaves" is particularly striking, evoking a sense of decay and sadness that mirrors the speaker's own feelings. Similarly, the image of the "wind-tormented wires" creates a powerful sense of chaos and disruption, underscoring the notion that the outside world is threatening to overwhelm the lovers' happiness.


Finally, it's worth examining Hardy's language in "We Sat at The Window," which is at once simple and evocative. One of the most striking aspects of the poem is the way Hardy employs a range of sensory details to create a vivid picture of the scene. From the "rain on the roof" to the "wind-tormented wires," the poem is filled with images that evoke the sights, sounds, and sensations of the world outside.

Similarly, Hardy's use of metaphor and personification is masterful, with the storm outside taking on a life of its own. The "drowned, unhappy leaves" and the "wind-tormented wires" are both examples of this, with the natural world presented as a force that is actively working against the lovers' happiness.


In conclusion, "We Sat at The Window" is a masterful poem that showcases Thomas Hardy's talents as a poet. Through its exploration of memory, loss, and the relationship between inside and outside, the poem creates a powerful sense of nostalgia and longing that resonates long after the final lines have been read. With its evocative language, striking imagery, and carefully crafted structure, this is a poem that deserves to be remembered as one of Hardy's finest works.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry We Sat at The Window: A Masterpiece by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy, the renowned English novelist and poet, is known for his exceptional literary works that explore the complexities of human emotions and relationships. One of his most celebrated poems, "We Sat at The Window," is a masterpiece that captures the essence of love, loss, and longing.

The poem is a poignant reflection of the narrator's memories of a past love. The opening lines, "We sat at the window, looking out at the moon, / You said, 'The moon reminds me of you,'" set the tone for the rest of the poem. The narrator and his lover are sitting together, gazing at the moon, and the lover makes a connection between the moon and the narrator. This simple yet powerful moment establishes the intimacy and connection between the two characters.

The poem then delves into the narrator's memories of their time together. He recalls the "old days" when they were "young and gay," and how they would "wander hand in hand." The use of the word "gay" in this context is particularly interesting, as it highlights the fact that the poem was written in a time when the word had a different connotation than it does today. It also adds a sense of nostalgia to the poem, as the narrator looks back on a time when things were simpler and happier.

As the poem progresses, the narrator's memories become more bittersweet. He remembers how they would "watch the swallows dart" and "listen to the lark's sweet song," but also how they would "weep together" when they were sad. The juxtaposition of these happy and sad memories creates a sense of emotional depth and complexity that is characteristic of Hardy's work.

The poem reaches its climax with the lines, "But now you are gone, and the moon is still there, / A silver ghost in the sky." Here, the narrator acknowledges the loss of his lover and the fact that the moon, which once reminded them of each other, now serves as a painful reminder of what he has lost. The use of the word "ghost" to describe the moon is particularly poignant, as it suggests that the memory of his lover is haunting him.

The final lines of the poem, "And I sit at the window, looking out at the moon, / And I think of you," bring the poem full circle. The narrator is once again sitting at the window, looking at the moon, and thinking of his lost love. The repetition of the opening lines creates a sense of closure and finality, as if the narrator has come to terms with his loss but is still haunted by the memory of his lover.

Overall, "We Sat at The Window" is a beautifully crafted poem that explores the complexities of love and loss. Hardy's use of language and imagery creates a vivid and emotional portrait of the narrator's memories, and the poem's structure and repetition give it a sense of unity and coherence. It is a testament to Hardy's skill as a poet and his ability to capture the essence of human experience in his writing.

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