The Darkling Thrush Essay

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In the following essay, May asserts that Hardy "took Keats's romantic view of nature" in "The Nightingale" and "inverted it to write an ironic rejection of such a view" in "The Darkling Thrush."

Hardy's "The Darkling Thrush," written to commemorate the end of the nineteenth century, has always been called one of Hardy's representative poems, sometimes even his best poem. But though it has been frequently commented on and anthologized, an important question about the poem has not been answered: Why did Hardy choose this particular subject to mark such an auspicious turning point? Carl Weber, the Hardy scholar who usually knows such things, says Hardy perhaps got the idea from W. H. Hudson's "Nature in Downland" (1900), in which a thrush's song suggests to Hudson a "contentment and bliss" beyond our own. Weber adds that Shelley's "Skylark" also may have contributed to the source of the poem. Neither...

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This section contains 1,622 words
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Poetry for Students
The Darkling Thrush from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.