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This poem by Thomas Hardy, perhaps better known as a novelist, is in abab eight line stanzas, giving it a lyrical tone and musical beat, not unlike a thrush’s song in the wilderness. The images of nature – “When Frost was spectre-gray,” – “The tangled bine-stems scored the sky/Like strings of broken lyres,” – The musical motif continues in each stanza “In a full-hearted evensong/ Of joy illimited” “So little cause for carolings” etc. As the poem moves through the images, Hardy draws a full-length portrait of a purely Romantic mood. At first the narrator is downhearted, “fervourless.” But, as in poems by Wordsworth, Bryon, and Keats, the song of the thrush in the wilderness lightens his spirit, giving him “Some blessed Hope”. The sense of this kind of Romantic poem is that Man has lost touch with Nature and the natural beauty of Nature’s rhythms, represented by birdsongs, skylarks or nightingales or thrushes, and can reconnect with Nature by hearing these songs – “Such ecstatic sound/ Was written on terrestrial things.” Hardy is telling his story in the first person -- “I leant upon the coppice gate” -- to advise us to find Hope in connecting with Nature.
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