Analyse the poetry of Thomas Hardy

Essay by meggyxxxxB+, June 2006

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Thomas Hardy is an intriguing and enigmatic poet whose poetic themes deviate from war, nature and heroism to love, the transience of life and the death of the soul. Though penned some eighty years ago, the poetry of Thomas Hardy remains remarkably accessible and identifiable to a modern reader. While some critic's claim that his poetic writing is archaise. His language elegant but awkward and his work difficult to comprehend, I enjoyed the poetry of Hardy for its diversity of themes, its earthly realism and his descriptive and metaphorical language. I identified and empathised with his poetry of love and loss, change and decay. Whether he is describing the transience of life and the onslaught of time "Down their carved names the raindrop ploughs" or the mystery, enchantment and wonder of first love "with magic in my eyes", the world that Hardy creates is always vivid and real for his reader.

"When I set out for Lyonnesse" is a beautiful, sad, magical and poignant lyric that captures the magic, mystery and wonder of first love. Despite the fact that the poem describes the wonder and joy that the poet feels for his new love, the poem is devoid of any specific details about the narrators beloved, their initial meeting or the nature of their relationship. And it is because of this, because of the poet's description of an emotion rather than an event that "When I set out for Lyonnesse" becomes a universal love poem to all and for all that have ever loved or have hoped to love. While much of Hardy's work focus upon the irrationality of war, the transience of life and the destructive progress of time, "When I set out for Lyonnesse" is different in many respects, depicting great personal happiness, fulfilment and love, a transforming...