“As I Walked out One Evening” contains fifteen four-line stanzas rhyming abcb. The rhymes are masculine; the meter is a flexible iambic trimeter with all the unrhymed lines ending with an additional unstressed syllable. The language of this poem, which has no title but is usually designated by its first line, is relatively simple, but the poem presents three voices, one of which conveys a relatively short but beautiful love lyric, embedded in a more elaborate structure that complicates the reader’s response.
The first voice, not that of a lover but of an observer who is walking on an urban street toward a river, occupies the first stanza and three lines of the second. The walker is in a mood to characterize the passing crowds of people as “fields of harvest wheat.” Nearing the “brimming river,” this person hears a voice brimming with the rapture of love.
The lovers are embracing under a railroad bridge. One of them, the poem’s second voice, is first heard in the last line of the second stanza, “Love has no ending,” an assertion that may serve as a title of the song that follows and certainly expressive of its theme. In the next three stanzas the lover pledges undying love in a series of extravagant assertions reminiscent of Robert Burns’s “A Red, Red Rose” (1796), in which the speaker vows to love his lady “till a’ the seas gang dry.” In this poem the couple’s love will continue “till the ocean/ Is...
(The entire section is 453 words.)