Explain Hardy as a nature poet in regards to "The Darkling Thrush."

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a Naturalist, Thomas Hardy employs nature to convey both mood for his works and to convey the Naturalistic indifference of the universe.  For instance, his poem entitled "Neutral Tones" he and his love stand by a pond on a winter day, a pond "edged with grayish leaves," that reflects the tone of this poem.  This dismal tone underscores the remembrances of the speaker about his former love as their relationship ended:  "The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing."  With the sun described as "as thou chidden of God" and the "starving sod," nature conveys the dismal mood of the speaker.

In his poem "The Darkling Thrush," Hardy writes that

The land's sharp features seemed to be

The Century's corpse outleant,

His crypt the coudy canopy,

The wind his death-lament.

But, just when the speaker believes that nature shares his mood, a darkling thrush appears and sings

His happy good-night air

Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew

And I was unaware.

So, it really is an indifferent universe that, in its caprice that the speaker does not understand, has a cheerful song.




coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thomas Hardy shows many attributes of the typical English Nature poet in his poem "The Darkling Thrush." He encapsulates reflection, worries and concerns about Man and his place in the world by alluding to the natural world. The late Victorians worried about political rumblings in Europe and the changing social order, so Thomas Hardy uses sombre and slightly depressing images ithe poem, such as the words "darkling" and "spectre-grey." The mood and tone are also very subdued and almost sorrowful evoking an idea of the dying of the century as compared to the dying of the English year in Nature - the colors are grey and brown like a speckled thrush. Thomas Hardy himself was probably thinking of the senior years of his life ahead as he wrote the poem in his sixties - he also had sad bereavements and tragedies to deal with.