The Darkling Thrush Questions and Answers
by Thomas Hardy

The Darkling Thrush book cover
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What is a summary of the poem "The Darkling Thrush" by Thomas Hardy?

"The Darkling Thrush" is about a man who leans on the gate to a cultivated wood as he contemplates the dreary, hopeless feeling that midwinter brings. The pessimistic speaker suddenly hears a bird sing joyfully in the woods. He wonders what the old bird can possibly have to be joyful about. Though he will never know the answer to his question, he takes a little comfort in the knowledge that the bird has some reason for existence and happiness.

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coachingcorner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the poem 'The Darkling Thrush' by Thomas Hardy, the poet starts his piece by putting us in the setting where he had his ideas. He is leaning on the gate to a small, managed wood in England's traditional countryside ('coppice') It is that depressing time of year when all is gloomy, perhaps after Christmas when there seems nothing to look forward to except long grey dark nights and the coldness of frost. The depression is added to by words like 'dregs' and 'desolate.' Even feratures of wildlife and landscape seem lacking in enthusiasm ('fervourless') Suddenly the mood lifts and joy bursts upon the sky - it is the full song of the thrush, melodious and musical, and everything including the poet's mood is transformed - evn though the bird is old he still has gifts to give. Hardy suffered from depression, yet finds hope in the bird's song of joy.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This poem was written at the beginning of the 20th century to mark the end of the old century and beginning of the new.  I will briefly summarize it by stanza.

I was outside leaning on a gate on a gloomy day when everyone else was inside.

The land looked desolate -- like a tomb for the old century.  And it seemed like everything on earth was depressed like me.

But then I heard a joyful song from an old thrush.

I couldn't figure out what he had to be happy about.  So all I can think is that he knows some reason to be happy that I don't know about.

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deepadappa | Student

The poet Thomas Hardy as a pesimmist mourns for the death of the century because he wrote this poem on Dec. 31 1900.

In the first stanza he explains about the winter season which is usually dull and unhappy. The sun is going to set and the light is dim.People who went for their job in morning retured home.

In the second stanza he considers the dying century to the tomb covered by clouds. He considers the process of life and death in this world.

During his lamentation he hears a sweet sound of a bird which was a old thrush singing very happily with unlimited joy in its song.

The poet cant find a reason why the bird is so much happy and concludes that only the divine may know the reason.