Evaluate "The Scholar Gypsy" as a Victorian poem with a particular focus on its theme and elements.

"The Scholar Gypsy" is a Victorian poem in its concern with the negative effects of modern industrial society and evocation of the merits of earlier times. The author uses imagery and formal structure in expressing these themes.

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In the Victorian era, the rapid rate of industrialization and the scientific challenges to a faith-based worldview were matters of concern to many social critics. The harmful effects of these developments were experienced as alienation and a wounded spirit, which severely damaged the human ability to appreciate or even cope...

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In the Victorian era, the rapid rate of industrialization and the scientific challenges to a faith-based worldview were matters of concern to many social critics. The harmful effects of these developments were experienced as alienation and a wounded spirit, which severely damaged the human ability to appreciate or even cope with life. In contrast, people in earlier times were more closely involved with the natural world and had a greater capacity for both emotional and intellectual connections. The title character is not merely a person of superior intellect but a man who rejected the artificial confines of society in favor of seeking his own way—a kind of pilgrim. The Victorian formality of the poem includes its regular rhythm and rhyme, using iambic pentameter with an ABAB rhyme scheme.

Arnold’s poem in some respects continues Romantic tendencies to idealize nature, but the author’s attitude is more attuned to the negative consequences of industry and the related, accelerating pace of modern life. The poet includes a variety of images that show positive visions of the past in sharp contrast to negative features of the “diseased” present. Arnold uses a simile comparing the gay life of the past to fresh running water, and numerous metaphors of illness for the present. The scholar was

born in days when wits were fresh and clear,

And life ran gayly as the sparkling Thames;

Before this strange disease of modern life,

With its sick hurry, its divided aims,

Its head o'ertaxed, its palsied hearts, was rife.

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