What is the theme of the poem "Paying Calls" by Thomas Hardy?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thomas Hardy's poem "Paying Calls" is about a man who has come to a place in his life which makes him reminisce about his past. He begins to make calls upon those he has not contacted in a very long time.

Hardy states that he strayed a mile from "where the bustle ends." One could imagine that Hardy has found himself in a cemetery. This can be justified because the bustle of life ends at the grave.

One could go on to support this through the lines in the third stanza:

It was the time of midsummer

When they had used to roam;

But now, though tempting was the air,

I found them all at home.

Here, one could justify that "home" was their final resting place.

The final key to support the fact that Hardy is standing next to "mound and stone and tree" (graves). He has come to the final resting place to speak to friends long gone who fail to speak back to him.

The entire poem speaks to the theme of importance of friendships. While Hardy's friends are dead, the fact remains that he still feels a connection to them, especially to those who are his "oldest friends of all." While in body his friends may be gone, but their spirit and the memory of their friendships will never leave him.

thaya68 | Student

Paying calls is certainly about Nostalgic memories.And the theme of the poem is at the last part of a human life only their memories will be there soul mate and the memories give them a mixed pleasant with a sorrow feeling

ushio-ayuzawa1996 | Student

due to the influence of industrialization in england at that time, people was stuck in the city and forgot about the village.

senthuraan | Student

yep! actually.., this poem is made by industrial revolution, after INDUSTRIALIZATION happend, the certain person(Thomas Hardy) .. he visited his old friends in anothr area, the rat racing behind money made him to forget about his friends or friends might forget him by the industrialization untill the poem finished this is the meaning but it's proved that human relation is more imporatant than  and valuable that money is nothing ... ITS the theme of the full poem in the end of the poem lines

But they spoke not to me''

and from the line..

by mound and stone and tree''

had proved that they were died........


satakshi | Student

Changing nature of life