'A Sign-Seeker' by Thomas Hardy
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I MARK the months in liveries dank and dry,
The day-tides many-shaped and hued;
I see the nightfall shades subtrude,
And hear the monotonous hours clang negligently by.
I view the evening bonfires of the sun
On hills where morning rains have hissed;
The eyeless countenance of the mist
Pallidly rising when the summer droughts are done.
I have seen the lightning-blade, the leaping star,
The caldrons of the sea in storm,
Have felt the earthquake's lifting arm,
And trodden where abysmal fires and snowcones are.
I learn to prophesy the hid eclipse,
The coming of eccentric orbs;
To mete the dust the sky absorbs,
To weigh the sun, and fix the hour each planet dips.
I witness fellow earth-men surge and strive;
Assemblies meet, and throb, and part;
Death's soothing finger, sorrow's smart;
--All the vast various moils that mean a world alive.
But that I fain would wot of shuns my sense--
Those sights of which old prophets tell,
Those signs the general word so well,
Vouchsafed to their unheed, denied my watchings tense.
In graveyard green, behind his monument
To glimpse a phantom parent, friend,
Wearing his smile, and "Not the end!"
Outbreathing softly: that were blest enlightenment;
Or, if a dead Love's lips, whom dreams reveal
When midnight imps of King Decay
Delve sly to solve me back to clay,
Should leave some print to prove her spirit-kisses real;
Or, when Earth's Frail lie bleeding of her Strong,
If some Recorder, as in Writ,
Near to the weary scene should flit
And drop one plume as pledge that Heaven inscrolls the wrong.
--There are who, rapt to heights of trancéd trust,
These tokens claim to feel and see,
Read radiant hints of times to be--
Of heart to heart returning after dust to dust.
Such scope is granted not my powers indign...
I have lain in dead men's beds, have walked
The tombs of those with whom I'd talked,
Called many a gone and goodly one to shape a sign,
And panted for response. But none replies;
No warnings loom, nor whisperings
To open out my limitings,
And Nescience mutely muses: When a man falls he lies.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Poetry, A Sign-Seeker: A Masterpiece of Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy, the celebrated English novelist and poet, is known for his rich literary works that portray human emotions and relationships in a realistic manner. One of his most well-known poems is "Poetry, A Sign-Seeker," which was first published in 1898. This poem has been the subject of many literary criticism and interpretation. In this essay, we will delve into the depths of the poem and explore its themes, structure, and poetic devices.
"Poetry, A Sign-Seeker" is a poem that deals with the themes of the search for meaning in life, the role of poetry in society, and the relationship between the poet and the reader. The poem is written in the form of a dialogue between the "Sign-Seeker" and the "Wisdom-Watcher."
The Sign-Seeker is a representation of the poet, who is constantly searching for meaning in his life and in the world around him. He is looking for signs that will give him insight into the mysteries of life. The Wisdom-Watcher, on the other hand, represents the reader, who is looking for wisdom and guidance from the poet.
The poem explores the tension between the Sign-Seeker and the Wisdom-Watcher. The Sign-Seeker wants to express his own experiences and feelings through his poetry, while the Wisdom-Watcher wants the poet to provide him with universal truths and insights. The poem suggests that the role of the poet is not to provide answers, but to ask questions and provoke thought in his readers.
The poem is written in the form of a dialogue between the Sign-Seeker and the Wisdom-Watcher. The poem is divided into six stanzas, each containing six lines. The poem has a regular rhyme scheme of ABABCC.
The structure of the poem reflects the tension between the Sign-Seeker and the Wisdom-Watcher. The poem begins with the Sign-Seeker expressing his desire to find meaning in life through poetry. The Wisdom-Watcher responds by asking the Sign-Seeker to provide him with wisdom and guidance. The poem ends with the Sign-Seeker acknowledging the limitations of poetry in providing answers to the mysteries of life.
"Poetry, A Sign-Seeker" is a poem that makes use of a variety of poetic devices to convey its themes and ideas. One of the most prominent poetic devices used in the poem is the use of metaphors and symbols.
The Sign-Seeker compares himself to a "lone seafarer" who is lost in the midst of a storm. This metaphor conveys the sense of isolation and confusion that the Sign-Seeker feels as he searches for meaning in life.
The Wisdom-Watcher is compared to a "pensive sage" who is looking for wisdom and guidance from the Sign-Seeker. This comparison highlights the tension between the poet and the reader, as the Wisdom-Watcher expects the poet to provide him with answers and insights.
The poem also makes use of personification, as the Sign-Seeker and the Wisdom-Watcher are given human-like qualities. The Sign-Seeker is described as a "soul" who is searching for meaning in life. The Wisdom-Watcher, on the other hand, is described as a "mind" who is looking for wisdom and guidance.
"Poetry, A Sign-Seeker" is a poem that explores the tension between the poet and the reader. The poem suggests that the role of the poet is not to provide answers, but to ask questions and provoke thought in his readers.
The poem is also a reflection of Hardy's own views on the role of poetry in society. Hardy believed that poetry should not be used as a means of providing answers or giving guidance, but should be used as a means of expressing one's own experiences and feelings.
The poem suggests that the search for meaning in life is a never-ending process. The Sign-Seeker acknowledges the limitations of poetry in providing answers to the mysteries of life. He realizes that there are no easy answers, and that the search for meaning in life is a journey that must be undertaken by each individual.
"Poetry, A Sign-Seeker" is a masterpiece of Thomas Hardy, which explores the themes of the search for meaning in life, the role of poetry in society, and the relationship between the poet and the reader. The poem is written in the form of a dialogue between the Sign-Seeker and the Wisdom-Watcher, which reflects the tension between the poet and the reader.
The poem makes use of a variety of poetic devices, such as metaphors and symbols, to convey its themes and ideas. The poem suggests that the role of the poet is not to provide answers, but to ask questions and provoke thought in his readers.
"Poetry, A Sign-Seeker" is a poem that continues to resonate with readers today, as it speaks to the universal human experience of the search for meaning in life. It is a testament to Hardy's skills as a poet and his ability to capture the complexities of the human condition in his works.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry A Sign-Seeker: A Masterpiece of Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy, one of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era, is known for his profound and thought-provoking poetry. His works are characterized by a deep understanding of human nature, a keen observation of the world around him, and a unique style that blends traditional and modern elements. One of his most famous poems, Poetry A Sign-Seeker, is a masterpiece that captures the essence of his poetic genius.
The poem is a reflection on the nature of poetry and the role it plays in our lives. It is a conversation between the poet and his muse, in which the poet seeks to understand the purpose of poetry and the meaning behind the words. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each of which explores a different aspect of poetry.
The first stanza sets the tone for the poem and establishes the poet's quest for understanding. The poet begins by asking his muse, "Do you remember an Inn, Miranda?" This question serves as a metaphor for the poet's search for meaning in poetry. The inn represents the world of poetry, and the poet is seeking a sign that will guide him through this world. The muse responds by saying that she remembers the inn, but that it is now "long since knocked down." This response suggests that the poet's quest for meaning in poetry may be futile, as the world of poetry is constantly changing and evolving.
The second stanza delves deeper into the nature of poetry and its relationship to the world around us. The poet asks his muse, "Do you know how the roses grew, Miranda?" This question represents the poet's desire to understand the natural world and its connection to poetry. The muse responds by saying that the roses grew "by the love of the sun and the dew." This response suggests that poetry is a reflection of the natural world, and that it is through our connection to nature that we can find meaning in poetry.
The third and final stanza brings the poem to a close, and offers a resolution to the poet's quest for understanding. The poet asks his muse, "Do you know we have lived and loved, Miranda?" This question represents the poet's realization that poetry is not just a reflection of the natural world, but also a reflection of our own lives and experiences. The muse responds by saying that she knows they have lived and loved, and that this is the "sign we have sought for." This response suggests that the meaning of poetry is not something that can be found in the world around us, but rather something that is found within ourselves.
Overall, Poetry A Sign-Seeker is a masterful work of poetry that captures the essence of Thomas Hardy's poetic genius. The poem is a reflection on the nature of poetry and its role in our lives, and it offers a profound insight into the human experience. Through its use of metaphor and symbolism, the poem explores the relationship between poetry and the natural world, and it ultimately suggests that the meaning of poetry is found within ourselves.
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