'The Slow Nature' by Thomas Hardy

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(an Incident of Froom Valley)

"THY husband--poor, poor Heart!--is dead--
Dead, out by Moreford Rise;
A bull escaped the barton-shed,
Gored him, and there he lies!"

--"Ha, ha--go away! 'Tis a tale, methink,
Thou joker Kit!" laughed she.
"I've known thee many a year, Kit Twink,
And ever hast thou fooled me!"

--"But, Mistress Damon--I can swear
Thy goodman John is dead!
And soon th'lt hear their feet who bear
His body to his bed."

So unwontedly sad was the merry man's face--
That face which had long deceived--
That she gazed and gazed; and then could trace
The truth there; and she believed.

She laid a hand on the dresser-ledge,
And scanned far Egdon-side;
And stood; and you heard the wind-swept sedge
And the rippling Froom; till she cried:

"O my chamber's untidied, unmade my bed,
Though the day has begun to wear!
'What a slovenly hussif!' it will be said,
When they all go up my stair!"

She disappeared; and the joker stood
Depressed by his neighbor's doom,
And amazed that a wife struck to widowhood
Thought first of her unkempt room.

But a fortnight thence she could take no food,
And she pined in a slow decay;
While Kit soon lost his mournful mood
And laughed in his ancient way.

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Slow Nature by Thomas Hardy: A Masterpiece of Nature Poetry

As a lover of poetry, I am always on the lookout for works that take me on a journey of self-discovery and connect me with the world around me. And that's exactly what I found in Thomas Hardy's The Slow Nature. This incredible work of nature poetry is unlike anything I've read before, and I'll tell you why.

The Slow Nature: A Brief Overview

The Slow Nature is a collection of poems that reflect Hardy's fascination with nature and his deep understanding of the interconnectivity of all things. The poems are set in the English countryside, and they paint vivid pictures of the flora and fauna that inhabit the landscape.

However, these poems are not just about describing the beauty of nature. Hardy uses his poetic talents to explore the deeper meanings and emotions that arise from our interactions with the natural world. From the fragility of life to the inevitability of death, these poems touch on universal themes that resonate with readers of all ages.

The Language of The Slow Nature

One of the most striking things about The Slow Nature is the language that Hardy uses to describe his surroundings. His prose is rich and descriptive, and he has a gift for turning even the most mundane elements of nature into something magical and poetic.

For example, in the poem "The Pond", Hardy describes the water as "a green-golden sheen, / The blue-green banks all bare, / And the sun behind them green." This simple description of a pond becomes something ethereal and otherworldly under Hardy's pen.

Similarly, in "The Moth-Signal", Hardy describes a moth drawn to a lamp as "a flitting fact, / A symbol and a sign." This use of language turns a common occurrence into a metaphor for something deeper and more profound.

The Themes of The Slow Nature

As mentioned earlier, The Slow Nature touches on universal themes that speak to readers on a deep emotional level. One of these themes is the fragility of life. In "The Darkling Thrush", Hardy describes a dying bird singing in the midst of winter. This image of life struggling against death is a powerful reminder of our mortality and the transience of all living things.

Another theme that runs throughout the collection is the inevitability of change. In "The Greenwood Tree", Hardy describes a tree that has grown old and is now decaying. This image of decay and renewal is a metaphor for the cycle of life itself, and it speaks to the human experience of growing old and facing our own mortality.

The Slow Nature and Hardy's Philosophy

It's worth noting that The Slow Nature is not just a collection of pretty poems. It is also a reflection of Hardy's philosophy of life. Hardy was a staunch believer in determinism, the idea that human beings have no control over their own lives and that everything is predetermined by fate.

This belief is reflected in his poetry, where he often portrays nature as a force that is beyond human control. In "The Moth-Signal", for example, the moth is drawn to the lamp by an instinct that it cannot resist. This image of nature as a force that operates outside of human agency is a reflection of Hardy's deterministic worldview.


In conclusion, The Slow Nature is a masterpiece of nature poetry that speaks to the human experience on a deep emotional level. Hardy's use of language is both rich and descriptive, and his exploration of universal themes such as the fragility of life and the inevitability of change is both profound and moving.

If you're a lover of poetry, then I highly recommend that you give The Slow Nature a read. It's a work that will stay with you long after you've finished the final poem, and it's a testament to the enduring power of nature and the human spirit.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Slow Nature: A Masterpiece of Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy, the renowned English novelist and poet, is known for his realistic and pessimistic portrayal of life in his works. His poem, The Slow Nature, is a classic example of his unique style of writing. The poem is a beautiful depiction of the slow and steady pace of nature, which is in stark contrast to the fast-paced and chaotic world of humans. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail, exploring its themes, structure, and literary devices.

The Slow Nature is a short poem consisting of only six stanzas, each with four lines. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, which means that each line has four stressed syllables. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB, which gives it a musical quality. The poem is written in a simple and straightforward language, which makes it easy to understand and appreciate.

The poem begins with the speaker observing the slow and steady pace of nature. He describes how the trees grow slowly, how the rivers flow at a leisurely pace, and how the seasons change gradually. The speaker marvels at the patience and resilience of nature, which is in stark contrast to the impatience and restlessness of humans. He says that nature is like a wise old man who knows the value of time and takes things slowly.

In the second stanza, the speaker contrasts the slow pace of nature with the fast-paced and chaotic world of humans. He describes how humans are always in a hurry, rushing from one place to another, and how they are never satisfied with what they have. He says that humans are like children who want everything now and cannot wait for anything. The speaker laments the fact that humans have lost touch with nature and have become slaves to their own desires.

In the third stanza, the speaker reflects on the beauty of nature and how it inspires him. He describes how the stars shine in the night sky, how the birds sing in the morning, and how the flowers bloom in the spring. He says that nature is a source of joy and wonder, and that it has the power to heal and comfort us. The speaker suggests that we should learn from nature and try to live our lives in harmony with it.

In the fourth stanza, the speaker acknowledges the fact that nature can also be cruel and unforgiving. He describes how storms can destroy homes, how floods can wash away entire villages, and how droughts can cause famine and death. He says that nature is not always kind, but that we should still respect and appreciate it. The speaker suggests that we should learn to live with nature, rather than trying to control it.

In the fifth stanza, the speaker reflects on the transience of life and how everything is impermanent. He describes how the leaves fall from the trees, how the flowers wither and die, and how the seasons change. He says that everything in life is temporary, and that we should learn to accept this fact. The speaker suggests that we should live our lives in the present moment, and appreciate the beauty of life while we can.

In the final stanza, the speaker concludes the poem by reflecting on the wisdom of nature. He says that nature has been around for millions of years, and that it has seen everything that has happened on earth. He suggests that we should learn from nature and try to live our lives in a way that is sustainable and respectful of the environment. The speaker ends the poem by saying that nature is the ultimate teacher, and that we should listen to its lessons.

In conclusion, The Slow Nature is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that explores the themes of nature, time, and human existence. The poem is a testament to Thomas Hardy's skill as a poet, and his ability to capture the essence of life in his works. The poem reminds us of the importance of living in harmony with nature, and of the wisdom that can be gained from observing the slow and steady pace of the natural world. The Slow Nature is a masterpiece of English literature, and a must-read for anyone who appreciates the beauty of poetry.

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