“The Farmer’s Bride” is a description of a wife, narrated by her husband. The first two stanzas of the poem are written in the past tense, and the last four shift to the present tense to describe the present situation. He first states that he married her three years ago, when she was very young. The proposal and subsequent marriage were rushed; he decided in the summer and married her soon after without spending much time with her, because he was busy with the fall harvest.
As soon as they were married, she became unhappy and afraid of him. The implication is that she was afraid of his sexual advances; he matter-of-factly characterizes her as being afraid of “love and me and all things human.” Since he associates womanliness with sexuality and welcoming smiles, she became more like a “fay,” or fairy, to him, something spiritual and intangible rather than physically present.
Her fear of him and repugnance at her life reached an apex when she fled from home soon after their marriage; they were married “at harvest-time,” and she ran away in the fall. The other farmers presumed that she was merely tending the sheep, though it was night and she should have been in bed. When they found her gone, she led them on a long chase. She was swift as a hare, but they captured her and locked her in her house.
Now, three years later, she makes a place for herself at the farm, doing her housework adequately and communing with small...
(The entire section is 482 words.)