Illustration of a dark blue songbird in a tree on barren-looking land, but the bird appears to be thinking about blue sky and green tundra

The Darkling Thrush

by Thomas Hardy

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Please describe the pictorial art in Hardy's poetry.

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The pictorial art so evident in the work of Thomas Hardy is at it's most beautiful or effective in his poem "The Darkling Thrush." From the very beginning (the title) the language is painting a vivid and charming picture. He uses a word with which even the Victorians were  not familiar "darkling." This is an olde English word emphasising tiny size and fragility and also things associated with the unknown, supernatural or dark. He then paints us a quaint picture of himself in "leant upon a coppice gate." This personalizes the poem and makes us feel as if we are alone with him and his thoughts in the pastoral English countryside, as he leans picturesquely on a gate. A coppice is a small piece of managed woodland-perhaps used for charcaol, hazel or birch sticks - or indeed for game such as pheasant. "Spectre grey" is a pictorial description using the greyness of ghostly images.

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