Portray the elements of sadness and desolation as depicted by Thomas Hardy in the poem "The Darkling Thrush."

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The first two stanzas of "The Darkling Thrush" by Thomas Hardy have a bleak tone which shifts to one of hope for the second half of the poem.

The setting is winter. The surroundings of the narrator are dark and seemingly hopeless. He notes the "spectre-gray" frost, and this connotes a feeling that it is draining the life from the would-be beautiful natural scene. The "tangled bine-stems [score] the sky," suggesting that no life remains in these climbing plants. Instead, they seem broken and are but a skeleton of what they were in another season.

In the second stanza, we learn that the century is dead. There is cloud cover like a "crypt," and the wind seems to cry out in despair about this. The process of germination is "shrunken hard and dry," and the narrator surmises that perhaps every soul on the earth and even in all of nature is as hopeless and broken as he feels in this moment.

There are lots of images here of despair, death, and decay. Thankfully, the narrator is rescued by a thrush whose "full-hearted" song restores his hope. It is worth noting that even in the thrush, the narrator sees the images of hopelessness. The bird is "frail, gaunt," yet he finds reason to rejoice. The narrator finds hope in another creature with reason to despair yet who finds a reason to sing anyway.

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