'Additions' by Thomas Hardy

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The Fire at Tranter Sweatley's

THEY had long met o' Zundays--her true love and she--
And at junketings, maypoles, and flings;
But she bode wi' a thirtover uncle, and he
Swore by noon and by night that her goodman should be
Naibor Sweatley--a gaffer oft weak at the knee
From taking o' sommat more cheerful than tea--
Who tranted, and moved people's things.

She cried, "O pray pity me!" Nought would he hear;
Then with wild rainy eyes she obeyed,
She chid when her Love was for clinking off wi' her.
The pa'son was told, as the season drew near
To throw over pu'pit the names of the peäir
As fitting one flesh to be made.

The wedding-day dawned and the morning drew on;
The couple stood bridegroom and bride;
The evening was passed, and when midnight had gone
The folks horned out, "God save the King," and anon
The two home-along gloomily hied.

The lover Tim Tankens mourned heart-sick and drear
To be thus of his darling deprived:
He roamed in the dark ath'art field, mound, and mere,
And, a'most without knowing it, found himself near
The house of the tranter, and now of his Dear,
Where the lantern-light showed 'em arrived.

The bride sought her cham'er so calm and so pale
That a Northern had thought her resigned;
But to eyes that had seen her in tide-times of weal,
Like the white cloud o' smoke, the red battlefield's vail,
That look spak' of havoc behind.

The bridegroom yet laitered a beaker to drain,
Then reeled to the linhay for more,
When the candle-snoff kindled some chaff from his grain--
Flames spread, and red vlankers, wi' might and wi' main,
And round beams, thatch, and chimley-tun roar.

Young Tim away yond, rafted up by the light,
Through brimble and underwood tears,
Till he comes to the orchet, when crooping thereright
In the lewth of a codlin-tree, bivering wi' fright,
Wi' on'y her night-rail to screen her from sight,
His lonesome young Barbree appears.

Her cwold little figure half-naked he views
Played about by the frolicsome breeze,
Her light-tripping totties, her ten little tooes,
All bare and besprinkled wi' Fall's chilly dews,
While her great gallied eyes, through her hair hanging loose,
Sheened as stars through a tardle o' trees.

She eyed en; and, as when a weir-hatch is drawn,
Her tears, penned by terror afore,
With a rushing of sobs in a shower were strawn,
Till her power to pour 'em seemed wasted and gone
From the heft o' misfortune she bore.

"O Tim, my own Tim I must call 'ee--I will!
All the world ha' turned round on me so!
Can you help her who loved 'ee, though acting so ill?
Can you pity her misery--feel for her still?
When worse than her body so quivering and chill
Is her heart in its winter o' woe!

"I think I mid almost ha' borne it," she said,
"Had my griefs one by one come to hand;
But O, to be slave to thik husbird for bread,
And then, upon top o' that, driven to wed,
And then, upon top o' that, burnt out o' bed,
Is more than my nater can stand!"

Tim's soul like a lion 'ithin en outsprung--
(Tim had a great soul when his feelings were wrung)--
"Feel for 'ee, dear Barbree?" he cried;
And his warm working-jacket about her he flung,
Made a back, horsed her up, till behind him she clung
Like a chiel on a gipsy, her figure uphung
By the sleeves that around her he tied.

Over piggeries, and mixens, and apples, and hay,
They lumpered straight into the night;
And finding bylong where a halter-path lay,
At dawn reached Tim's house, on'y seen on their way
By a naibor or two who were up wi' the day;
But they gathered no clue to the sight.

Then tender Tim Tankens he searched here and there
For some garment to clothe her fair skin;
But though he had breeches and waistcoats to spare,
He had nothing quite seemly for Barbree to wear,
Who, half shrammed to death, stood and cried on a chair
At the caddle she found herself in.

There was one thing to do, and that one thing he did,
He lent her some clouts of his own,
And she took 'em perforce; and while in 'em she slid,
Tim turned to the winder, as modesty bid,
Thinking, "O that the picter my duty keeps hid
To the sight o' my eyes mid be shown!"

In the tallet he stowed her; there huddied she lay,
Shortening sleeves, legs, and tails to her limbs;
But most o' the time in a mortal bad way,
Well knowing that there'd be the divel to pay
If 'twere found that, instead o' the elements' prey,
She was living in lodgings at Tim's.

"Where's the tranter?" said men and boys; "where can er be?"
"Where's the tranter?" said Barbree alone.
"Where on e'th is the tranter?" said everybod-y:
They sifted the dust of his perished roof-tree,
And all they could find was a bone.

Then the uncle cried, "Lord, pray have mercy on me!"
And in terror began to repent.
But before 'twas complete, and till sure she was free,
Barbree drew up her loft-ladder, tight turned her key--
Tim bringing up breakfast and dinner and tea--
Till the news of her hiding got vent.

Then followed the custom-kept rout, shout, and flare
Of a skimmington-ride through the naiborhood, ere
Folk had proof o' wold Sweatley's decay.
Whereupon decent people all stood in a stare,
Saying Tim and his lodger should risk it, and pair:
So he took her to church. An' some laughing lads there
Cried to Tim, "After Sweatley!" She said, "I declare
I stand as a maiden to-day!"

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Complexity of Human Relationships in Thomas Hardy's "Additions"

As a celebrated poet and novelist of the Victorian era, Thomas Hardy held a reputation for his keen observations of human nature and complex portrayals of relationships. One of his lesser-known works, "Additions", stands out as a prime example of his ability to capture the intricacies of human interaction through his poetic language and vivid imagery.

At its core, "Additions" is a series of short poems that explore the nuances of love and desire, as well as the pain and confusion that often accompany these emotions. Through his use of metaphor and symbolism, Hardy examines the complexities of human relationships, revealing the ways in which our desires and intentions can become muddled and distorted in the face of conflicting emotions.

The Power of Metaphor

Throughout "Additions", Hardy employs a variety of metaphors to describe the experience of love and desire. In the opening poem, "The Coquette, and After", he uses the image of a bird to represent the fleeting nature of romantic attraction. The titular coquette is compared to a "bird of beauty", flitting from lover to lover without ever settling down. The poem ends with the speaker lamenting his own inability to hold onto this elusive creature, declaring, "I missed my one chance with the bird of the season".

This emphasis on the transience of love and desire is a recurring theme throughout "Additions". In "The Dream-Follower", Hardy describes the experience of longing as a "shadowy horseman" who relentlessly pursues the speaker even in his dreams. The image of the persistent shadow serves as a powerful metaphor for the ways in which our desires can haunt us even when we try to push them away.

The Complexity of Desire

Another key theme in "Additions" is the complexity of desire and the ways in which it can be both alluring and destructive. In "The Serenade", the speaker describes the experience of longing for a lover who is unattainable, comparing it to the "ghostly gleams" of moonlight on the water. The beauty of this desire is undeniable, yet the speaker is all too aware of the pain it brings, declaring, "I know you cannot love me, yet I sing on".

This sense of longing and unrequited desire is further explored in "Her Late Husband's Shoes". Here, the speaker reflects on his attraction to a woman who is still grieving the loss of her husband. Yet even in the face of this emotional turmoil, the speaker cannot help but feel drawn to her, declaring, "I love her, though I know not why". This complexity of desire is further underscored by the symbolic significance of the husband's shoes, which serve as a constant reminder of the speaker's own inadequacy in the face of this woman's grief.

The Pain of Betrayal

Finally, "Additions" also explores the pain and confusion that can arise in the wake of betrayal. In "The Rival", the speaker reflects on his own jealousy and the sense of betrayal he feels when his lover shows affection to another man. The image of the "pale, dead face" of jealousy speaks to the overwhelming nature of this emotion, as well as the ways in which it can consume us in the face of perceived betrayal.

Similarly, in "The Widow", Hardy explores the complex emotions that arise in the aftermath of a relationship's end. The speaker describes the experience of seeing his former lover with another man, likening it to the "cold shock" of a winter's day. The sense of betrayal and loss is palpable in this poem, as the speaker struggles to come to terms with the fact that his love has moved on.


In "Additions", Thomas Hardy showcases his ability to capture the intricacies of human relationships through his poetic language and vivid imagery. Through his use of metaphor and symbolism, he explores the complexity of desire, the pain of betrayal, and the fleeting nature of love. While lesser-known than some of his other works, "Additions" stands as a testament to Hardy's skill as a writer and his ability to capture the essence of the human experience in all its messy, complicated glory.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry lovers, rejoice! Today, we delve into the world of Thomas Hardy's classic Poetry Additions. This collection of poems is a true gem in the literary world, showcasing Hardy's mastery of language and his ability to capture the essence of human emotions.

First published in 1913, Poetry Additions is a collection of 32 poems that were added to Hardy's previous collections of poetry. The poems in this collection are a mix of love, loss, and nature, all written in Hardy's signature style that is both melancholic and beautiful.

One of the standout poems in this collection is "The Voice." This poem is a hauntingly beautiful tribute to Hardy's deceased wife, Emma. The poem is written in the form of a dialogue between Hardy and his wife's spirit, with Hardy asking her questions and her responding with her voice. The poem is a poignant reminder of the power of love and the pain of loss.

Another notable poem in this collection is "The Darkling Thrush." This poem is a celebration of nature and its ability to bring hope and joy even in the darkest of times. The poem is set on a cold winter evening, with the speaker feeling despondent and hopeless. However, the arrival of a thrush singing in the darkness brings a sense of hope and renewal.

Hardy's ability to capture the beauty and power of nature is also evident in "At Castle Boterel." This poem is a nostalgic look back at a past love affair, with the speaker revisiting the place where he and his lover used to meet. The poem is filled with vivid descriptions of the landscape, with Hardy using nature as a metaphor for the speaker's emotions.

One of the most striking aspects of Poetry Additions is Hardy's use of language. His poems are filled with vivid imagery and powerful metaphors that bring his words to life. In "The Convergence of the Twain," Hardy uses the sinking of the Titanic as a metaphor for the futility of human ambition. The poem is a powerful reminder of the fragility of human life and the inevitability of death.

Hardy's use of language is also evident in "The Ruined Maid." This poem is a satirical look at the hypocrisy of Victorian society, with Hardy using the character of a "ruined maid" to highlight the double standards of the time. The poem is filled with witty wordplay and clever rhymes, making it a joy to read.

Overall, Poetry Additions is a must-read for anyone who loves poetry. Hardy's ability to capture the beauty and pain of human emotions is unparalleled, and his use of language is truly masterful. Whether you're a fan of love poetry, nature poetry, or social commentary, there is something for everyone in this collection.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up a copy of Poetry Additions and immerse yourself in the world of Thomas Hardy's beautiful poetry. You won't be disappointed.

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