Thomas Hardy- Natural Inspiration

ImageMany know Thomas Hardy, a Victorian realist, for his novels like Jude the Obscure and Far From the Madding Crowd.  However, Hardy regarded himself primarily as a poet.  The Darkling Thrush is a stirring account of the inspiration he derived from nature; his thrush, daring to sing amid the cold, dark of winter. Simply Brilliant!  


I leant upon a coppice gate
            When frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
            The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
            Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
            Had sought their household fires./
The land’s sharp features seemed to be
            The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
            The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
            Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
            Seemed fervourless as I./
At once a voice arose among
            The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
            Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small,
            In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
            Upon the growing gloom./
So little cause for carolings
            Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
            Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembling though
            His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, wherof he knew
            And I was unaware.

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