Hardy - At the Word Farewell analysis

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Written in 1917 about 5 yrs after Emma's death.
Hardy's recollection of his second meeting with Emma Gifford in 1870. This meeting
was to be the start of their relationship leading to their marriage in 1874.
Meeting takes place as Hardy is about to leave. He unexpectedly sees Emma in the
garden and feels driven to follow her to say farewell. This led to their coming
Autobiographical story told in stanza 1, last 2 lines stanza 3 and stanza 4
Middle 2 stanzas are Hardy's thoughts between looking at her through the window
and getting up to go to her. Thoughts are in hindsight.
lovers saying farewell. farewell or parting as a springboard for recognising
love. Separation and togetherness
destiny/fate. Hardy believes in fate. Idea of a "Plan" set from birth to bring
them together.
Compulsion. Hardy feels he had no choice. He was impelled by some force
other than free will to step into the garden and speak to Emma.
Chance. The unexpected. How chance and unforeseeable events can
change the course of our lives. At the time, Hardy had no idea what would
come of this small act of stepping onto lawn.
Starts mysterious with an unreal, dreamy quality. There is a touch of wistful longing
in the separation of the man and the woman at the start.. By the final verse it
becomes real and concrete with the togetherness of the couple.
no brooding quality unlike other Hardy poems about Emma
Stanza 1
She looked like a bird from a cloud Something strange and unreal about this simile.
On the clammy lawn, Suggests Emma is hard to catch, graceful and
Moving alone, bare-browed free. From a cloud makes her ethereal and
In the dim of dawn. elusive.

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Adjective clammy is a strange personification. It
describes the dew covered lawn as well as Hardy's
discomfort and agitation.
Juxtaposition of the ethereal bird imagery with the
unpleasant clamminess increases the uneasiness
of the mood.
'bare-browed' Hatless. Implies that Emma is
natural and free. Also a little strange to be hatless
at that time
dim of dawn' Alliteration 'd' 'd' sound focuses us on
the lack of clarity - dim. The in-between time of day
reflects the state of their relationship.…read more

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I beheld not where all was so fleet 'Plan of the past' Plan has a capital P to stress
That a Plan of the past Hardy's belief in fate. Plan is personified and is
Which had ruled us from birthtime to made a ruler to show how destiny is controlling the
meet events.
Was in working at last: `Was in working at last:' Fate is about to intervene,
colon suggests something is about to happen.…read more

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When we came in together' The poem moves from
'alone' in the first stanza to 'we' and 'together',
which is the last word of the poem.
regular rhyme scheme ABABCDCD (4 stanzas, 8 lines each) allows the poem to
Line length fluctuates throughout the poem which contributes to the ghostly and
uneasy nature of the poem.…read more


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