He uses phrases such as ‘when frost was spectre-grey’, and ‘ The Century’s corpse outleant’, which give the reader the image of death. In this poem Hardy is talking about the death of the 19th century as it moves into the 20th Century. The poem itself was written on the 31st December 1899, the turn of the Century. Hardy shows the narrator as having sad, grievous emotions throughout the poem. This is contrasted with the emotions of the thrush, which is portrayed to be celebrating, and happy.
The narrator appears to have given up on life, which is shown through the comment ‘And every spirit on earth seemed fervourless as I’. On the other hand, the thrush which is shown as being towards the end of its life in the verse ‘an aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small’, seems to be holding on to all it can. The narrators comment shows his opinion on the time in the verse ‘so little cause for carolings’. The thrush however is in the process of giving a ‘full-hearted evensong’, which is giving the impression that there was everything to live for.
In this poem, Hardy develops his feelings and emotions from the third verse of the first stanza. He shows that the winter is bleak, and not much good can come from it. The second stanza again gives the very negative impression, giving the imagery of a funeral scene to start with. This personification of the new year and new century as though it is dead gives the idea of a very bleak future. The poem then gives an indication that it is every person on earth that feels this way, not just the narrator.
The feelings are very disheartening, which may be a reflection of the general feeling of the people of Britain at the time with the industrial revolution having just occurred, and people being cooped up in factories all day long. The thrush however, represents the possibility of new hope, which the poet is unaware of. The last two verses show this. ‘Some blessed hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware’. The poet here is showing a sense of desperation, saying please be a hope that I don’t know of yet.
The ABAB rhyme scheme gives the poem a continuation throughout, with the feelings and emotions being carried on from the beginning to the end of the poem. In many of the verses, enjambment occurs, which carries on the emotion, whether that is the sad emotion of the poet or the happy emotions of the thrush, onto the next verse. In contrast to this poem is ‘God’s Grandeur’. In this poem, Hopkins is giving the impression of a beautiful thing that has been destroyed by man, but which recovers due to the presence of a greater being, God. The poem is in the form of a sonnet.
It gives both positive and negative emotions throughout. The first few verses talk about the greatness of the world, the creation of God. These verses do not convey any real emotion, they give an idea of greatness in the world. The fourth verse however, conveys despair in the question ‘why do men now not reck his rod? ‘ This is saying, why do men wreck the world? The next few verses are also conveying desperation. They are showing the mark that men have left on the earth. The word trod gives the impression of heavy, damaging steps, while the word toil gives the idea of trouble and conflict.
All of the first stanza is conveying desperation at the state man leaves the what was beautiful creation of God, in the state that it is in. It gives the idea that man is ruining the earth for himself. The second stanza starts on a more positive note. The first verse is ‘And for all this nature is never spent. It conveys the idea of new hope. It is showing that despite mans attempt to wreck the world, nature always returns to its original state. The last verse, ‘World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings’, gives the impression of the world reproducing.
The poem starts off conveying emotions of despair and hopelessness, with man wrecking what was once a beautiful creation of God, but being left damaged and possibly beyond repair. The second stanza contrasts to this with the idea of fresh hope being given. The world that man has wrecked is repaired by the power, grace and grandeur of God. The rhyming couplets in the first stanza give the suggestion of heaviness as man goes through the world, while the ABAB rhyme scheme in the second stanza portrays the thought that things slowly start to return to their original state.