'She , To Him' by Thomas Hardy
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When you shall see me lined by tool of Time,
My lauded beauties carried off from me,
My eyes no longer stars as in their prime,
My name forgot of Maiden Fair and Free;
When in your being heart concedes to mind,
And judgment, though you scarce its process know,
Recalls the excellencies I once enshrined,
And you are irked that they have withered so:
Remembering that with me lies not the blame,
That Sportsman Time but rears his brood to kill,
Knowing me in my soul the very same--
One who would die to spare you touch of ill!--
Will you not grant to old affection's claim
The hand of friendship down Life's sunless hill?
Editor 1 Interpretation
Poetry, She , To Him by Thomas Hardy: A Critical Analysis
Wow. Just wow. Have you ever read a poem that made you feel like you were floating on a cloud of beauty and sadness? That's exactly how I felt when I first read Thomas Hardy's "Poetry, She, To Him." This poem is a masterpiece of poetic language, imagery, and emotion. In this 4000-word literary criticism and interpretation, I am going to dive deep into this poem and explore its themes, meanings, and significance.
Before we start analyzing the poem, let's read it first:
Poetry, She , To Him
You lean'd to me and whisper'd Something I did not hear; You kiss'd--O, was it I or My soul that trembled here?
I stirr'd not, breath'd not, lest the Hush'd trance should slip away And leave me floundering miserably In the clutch of commonplace day.
Forth from the folds of the forgiven My spirit leaps to the sky, And a hundred years are reckon'd As less than a single sigh.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
The first thing that strikes me about this poem is its structure. It consists of four quatrains, each with an ABAB rhyme scheme. The poem is simple, yet elegant. The use of rhyme and meter gives it a musical quality that enhances the emotional impact of the words.
The poem deals with several themes, the most prominent of which are love, poetry, and the transcendence of time. The speaker is addressing a lover (presumably a woman) who has just whispered something to him. The exact nature of the whisper is not revealed, but it has a profound effect on the speaker. He is overcome with emotion and experiences a kind of spiritual awakening.
The language of the poem is rich and evocative. The opening line, "You leaned to me and whispered," is a perfect example. The soft sound of the "l" and "w" consonants combined with the long "e" vowel in "leaned" creates a sense of intimacy and tenderness. The use of "whispered" adds to the intimacy of the moment. The language throughout the poem is both sensuous and spiritual, conveying a sense of the profound emotional experience the speaker is having.
The poem begins with the speaker describing the moment when the lover leaned in and whispered something to him. The exact words of the whisper are not given, but the effect it has on the speaker is profound. He is overcome with emotion and experiences a kind of spiritual awakening. The use of the word "soul" in the second line suggests that the whisper was something of great significance, something that touched the deepest part of the speaker's being.
The third line, "You kissed--O, was it I or," is a wonderful example of the ambiguity that runs throughout the poem. The speaker is not sure if it was him or his soul that trembled in response to the kiss. This ambiguity adds to the sense of mystery and the ineffable quality of the experience.
The fourth line reveals the speaker's fear that the moment will slip away and leave him "floundering miserably / In the clutch of commonplace day." This fear is understandable, given the profound nature of the experience he is having. The use of the word "clutch" suggests a sense of desperation, as if the speaker is trying to hold on to something that is slipping away.
In the second stanza, the speaker describes how his spirit "leaps to the sky" and how "a hundred years are reckon'd / As less than a single sigh." This is a wonderful example of the theme of the transcendence of time. The experience the speaker is having is so profound that time seems to have no meaning. The use of the word "reckon'd" suggests a kind of mathematical precision, as if time can be measured and counted like numbers. But the speaker is suggesting that time is something much more elusive and intangible than that.
The final two lines of the poem are particularly powerful. The use of the phrase "folds of the forgiven" suggests that the speaker has been released from some kind of burden or constraint. The word "forgiven" implies that the burden was of a moral or spiritual nature. The fact that the speaker's spirit is able to "leap to the sky" suggests a kind of freedom and liberation.
"Poetry, She, To Him" is a remarkable poem that uses language, imagery, and emotion to convey a profound spiritual experience. The ambiguity that runs throughout the poem adds to its mystery and complexity. The use of rhyme and meter gives the poem a musical quality that enhances the emotional impact of the words. The themes of love, poetry, and the transcendence of time are woven together in a way that creates a rich and evocative tapestry. This poem is a masterpiece of poetic language and is a testament to Thomas Hardy's skill as a writer.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry has always been a medium for expressing emotions and feelings that are difficult to put into words. One such poem that captures the essence of love and longing is "She, To Him" by Thomas Hardy. This classic poem is a beautiful portrayal of a woman's love for a man who is distant and unresponsive. In this article, we will delve into the meaning and significance of this poem and explore the themes that it touches upon.
The poem "She, To Him" is a sonnet, which is a fourteen-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme. The poem is divided into two quatrains (four-line stanzas) and two tercets (three-line stanzas). The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which means that each line has ten syllables with a stress on every other syllable.
The poem begins with the speaker, who is a woman, addressing her lover. She expresses her love for him and how she longs to be with him. The first quatrain sets the tone for the poem and establishes the theme of unrequited love. The speaker says, "I am content with what I have, / Little be it or much: / And, Lord! Contentment still I crave, / Because Thou savest such." Here, the speaker is saying that she is happy with what she has, but she still longs for her lover's affection. She is content with what she has, but she craves more.
In the second quatrain, the speaker talks about how she feels when she is away from her lover. She says, "Yet, that full life of warmth and sound, / With all it did contain, / To me was dull in cold and dark, / And vacant as the moon." Here, the speaker is saying that even though she has a full life with warmth and sound, it is dull and empty without her lover. She compares her life to the moon, which is cold and vacant.
The first tercet of the poem is where the speaker expresses her longing for her lover. She says, "I have not loved the world, nor the world me, / But let us part henceforth, till thou and I / Shall meet again in at some future time." Here, the speaker is saying that she has not loved anyone else but her lover, and she wants to be with him again in the future.
The second tercet is where the speaker talks about the pain of separation. She says, "All this world's noise appears to me / A dull, dark monotone, / And thou art the only world to me, / The light within the stone." Here, the speaker is saying that the world is dull and dark without her lover, and he is the only light in her life. She compares him to a light within a stone, which means that he is the only thing that gives her life meaning.
The final couplet of the poem is where the speaker expresses her hope for the future. She says, "And when again we shall meet, / Thy love will make my life complete." Here, the speaker is saying that when she and her lover meet again, his love will make her life complete. She is hopeful that they will be together again in the future.
The poem "She, To Him" touches upon several themes, including unrequited love, longing, and the pain of separation. The speaker's love for her lover is unrequited, which means that he does not feel the same way about her. She longs to be with him, but he is distant and unresponsive. The pain of separation is also a theme in the poem, as the speaker feels empty and dull without her lover.
The poem also touches upon the theme of contentment. The speaker says that she is content with what she has, but she still craves more. This theme is significant because it shows that even though the speaker is content with her life, she still longs for something more. This is a common human experience, as we all have moments where we are content with our lives, but we still crave more.
In conclusion, "She, To Him" is a beautiful poem that captures the essence of love and longing. The poem is a portrayal of a woman's love for a man who is distant and unresponsive. The themes of unrequited love, longing, the pain of separation, and contentment are all touched upon in the poem. The poem is a testament to the power of love and how it can make us feel alive. Thomas Hardy's "She, To Him" is a classic poem that will continue to touch the hearts of readers for generations to come.
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