The opening lines of “The Darkling Thrush” establish the tone and the setting of the poem. Hardy underscores the speaker’s meditative mood by describing him leaning upon a “coppice gate,” meaning a gate that opens onto the woods. The presence of frost tells readers it is winter, and the adjective “spectre-grey,” a word Hardy coined, suggests a haunted landscape. The word “dregs” means the last of something, but here the dregs act upon the “weakening eye of day,” making the twilight “desolate.”
In the fifth and sixth...
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