'The Pity Of It' by Thomas Hardy
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I walked in loamy Wessex lanes, afar
From rail-track and from highway, and I heard
In field and farmstead many an ancient word
Of local lineage like "Thu bist," "Er war,"
"Ich woll," "Er sholl," and by-talk similar,
Nigh as they speak who in this month's moon gird
At England's very loins, thereunto spurred
By gangs whose glory threats and slaughters are.
Then seemed a Heart crying: "Whosoever they be
At root and bottom of this, who flung this flame
Between kin folk kin tongued even as are we,
Sinister, ugly, lurid, be their fame;
May their familiars grow to shun their name,
And their brood perish everlastingly."
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Pity Of It: An Analysis
Thomas Hardy's The Pity Of It is a powerful and moving poem that deals with the theme of love and loss. The poem is a reflection on the pain and sorrow that one experiences when a loved one dies. It is a heartfelt and poignant tribute to the human emotions of grief and despair.
The Structure of the Poem
The Pity Of It is a sonnet that follows the traditional structure of a Shakespearean sonnet. It consists of fourteen lines, with a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The poem is divided into three quatrains and a final couplet.
The first quatrain introduces the theme of the poem, which is the death of a loved one. The second quatrain explores the narrator's feelings of grief and despair. The third quatrain contains an extended metaphor, comparing the narrator's grief to a storm at sea. The final couplet concludes the poem with a reflection on the power of love to overcome even death.
The poem's structure is simple and elegant, reflecting the poem's message of the universal nature of grief. The sonnet form also emphasizes the poem's central theme of love, which is a central focus of many sonnets.
The Theme of Love and Loss
The central theme of The Pity Of It is love and loss. The poem explores the pain and sorrow that one feels when a loved one dies. The opening quatrain sets the tone for the rest of the poem by introducing the speaker's sense of loss:
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
The speaker suggests that love and loss are temporary, fleeting emotions that do not last beyond death. The speaker's tone is melancholic and reflective, as he contemplates the impermanence of life.
The second quatrain explores the narrator's feelings of grief and despair. The speaker laments that "the dead are many," suggesting that he has experienced loss multiple times. He also reflects on the "waste" of love, which seems to be pointless in the face of death. The speaker's tone is one of deep sadness and regret.
The third quatrain introduces an extended metaphor, comparing the narrator's grief to a storm at sea. The speaker describes the waves crashing against the shore, symbolizing the tumultuous emotions of grief. The metaphor is powerful and evocative, capturing the intensity of the narrator's feelings.
The final couplet concludes the poem with a reflection on the power of love. The speaker suggests that even though love may seem pointless in the face of death, it is still a force to be reckoned with. Love can overcome even death, and the memory of a loved one can live on forever.
The Use of Imagery
One of the most striking features of The Pity Of It is the use of vivid imagery. Hardy uses imagery to create a powerful and evocative picture of grief and loss.
In the second quatrain, for example, the speaker describes the dead as "ghostly blurred," suggesting that the speaker's memories of them are hazy and indistinct. This image captures the sense of loss and disorientation that one feels when a loved one dies.
In the third quatrain, the speaker uses the metaphor of a storm at sea to describe his grief. The image of the waves crashing against the shore is powerful and evocative, capturing the tumultuous emotions of grief.
Hardy also uses imagery to create a sense of contrast between life and death. In the opening quatrain, for example, he contrasts "the weeping and the laughter" with the idea that they have "no portion in us after / We pass the gate." This image creates a sense of finality and inevitability, emphasizing the transience of life.
The Tone of the Poem
The tone of The Pity Of It is one of deep sadness and regret. The speaker is mourning the loss of a loved one, and his feelings of grief are palpable throughout the poem.
At the same time, however, there is a sense of acceptance and resignation in the poem. The speaker seems to recognize that death is an inevitable part of life and that grief is a natural response to it.
There is also a sense of hopefulness in the poem. The final couplet suggests that even though love may seem pointless in the face of death, it is still a powerful force that can help us to overcome our grief.
The Pity Of It is a powerful and moving poem that deals with the theme of love and loss. Through the use of vivid imagery and a simple sonnet structure, Hardy creates a poignant tribute to the human emotions of grief and despair. The poem's message of the universality of grief and the power of love to overcome even death is a timeless one that continues to resonate with readers today.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Pity Of It: A Heartbreaking Poem by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy, one of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era, is known for his poignant and melancholic works that explore the complexities of human emotions and relationships. Among his many masterpieces, "The Pity Of It" stands out as a particularly heart-wrenching piece that captures the essence of loss, regret, and the fleeting nature of life.
Written in 1912, "The Pity Of It" is a short but powerful poem that tells the story of a man who has lost his beloved wife and is left to mourn her passing. The poem is structured in four stanzas, each consisting of four lines, and follows a simple ABAB rhyme scheme. However, the simplicity of the form belies the depth of the emotions that Hardy conveys through his words.
The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as the speaker laments the loss of his wife and the emptiness that now fills his life. He describes how he used to be happy and contented with his wife by his side, but now that she is gone, he feels lost and alone. The use of the word "pity" in the title and the first line of the poem is significant, as it suggests that the speaker sees his situation as one that is deserving of sympathy and compassion.
In the second stanza, the speaker reflects on the memories of his wife that still haunt him. He describes how he can still see her face and hear her voice, even though she is no longer there. The use of the word "ghost" to describe his wife's presence is particularly poignant, as it suggests that she is now nothing more than a shadow of her former self. The speaker's longing for his wife is palpable in these lines, as he wishes that he could be reunited with her once again.
The third stanza takes a more philosophical turn, as the speaker contemplates the nature of life and death. He wonders why life is so fleeting and why we must all eventually succumb to death. The use of the word "fleeting" to describe life is significant, as it suggests that the speaker sees life as something that is temporary and transitory. He also questions the purpose of life, asking whether it is all just a meaningless cycle of birth and death.
The final stanza brings the poem to a close, as the speaker acknowledges that he must accept his wife's death and move on with his life. He describes how he will try to find solace in the memories of his wife and the love that they shared. The use of the word "love" in the final line of the poem is significant, as it suggests that despite the pain and sorrow that the speaker has experienced, he still believes that love is the most important thing in life.
Overall, "The Pity Of It" is a deeply moving poem that explores the universal themes of love, loss, and mortality. Through his simple yet powerful words, Hardy captures the essence of human emotion and reminds us of the fragility of life. The poem is a testament to Hardy's skill as a poet and his ability to convey complex emotions in a way that is both accessible and profound. It is a true masterpiece of Victorian poetry and a timeless work of art that will continue to resonate with readers for generations to come.
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