How can I show the poem "The Darkling Thrush" is an example of an apocalyptic poem?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Let us remember that Hardy wrote this poem at the very end of the nineteenth century, and as a result was contemplating what the new century would bring. Such significant endings are always key moments in apocalyptic literature, as the fear surrounding the new beginning and what might be ahead dominates such moments. Consider the mood of the poem and what Hardy thinks will happen:

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

This is the second stanza of the poem, and we can see the depressing, dark and sombre mood that dominates. The century is personified as having a "corpse," and the bleak landscape that Hardy is surveying seems to be the funeral of this "corpse," as all sign of life is absent and there seems to be no renewal at all, as the "ancient pulse of germ and birth / Was shrunken hard and dry." To look at the world at this crucial juncture and to see no hope whatsoever for the future and to only see death and no life makes this poem incredibly apocalyptic.


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