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The Voice
By Thomas Hardy…read more

Slide 2

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Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then.
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!
Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.…read more

Slide 3

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Real-life background to the poem
· In 1874, Thomas Hardy married Emma Lavinia Gifford.
· They later became estranged and she died in 1912.
· He re-married in 1914 but remained fixed on Emma. He was regretful of
the way he had treated her later in her life. He made a trip to Cornwall to
visit places associated with their courtship.
· He wrote poems to deal with his grief; in his series Poems 1912-13.
· Hardy said: `I wrote just after Emma died, when I looked back at her as she
had originally been, and when I felt miserable lest I had not treated her
considerately in later life. However, I shall publish them as the only
amends I can make.'
· He also wrote in a letter: `In spite of the differences between us, which it
would be affection to deny, and certain painful delusions she suffered
from at times, my life is intensely sad without her.'…read more

Slide 4

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· Hardy imagines Emma is trying to communicate with him. He addresses
her directly.
· He recognises his difficulty to come to terms with her loss.
· The poem is a eulogy.
· The first stanza reflects excitement.
· The poem leads happily into a memory of the past with her in the second
stanza. It portrays a seed of doubt.
· The third stanza reflects Hardy's growing uncertainty. He questions the
probability of hearing her voice.
· In the final stanza he faces bleakness of her loss and he struggles to find
hope. `No more again'.…read more

Slide 5

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A eulogy is:
· From Wikipedia: `A speech or writing in praise of a person or thing,
especially one recently deceased or retired.'
· From `A speech or writing in praise of a person or thing,
especially a set oration in honour of a deceased person.'
· From A laudatory speech or written tribute,
especially one praising someone who has died.…read more

Slide 6

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· Four stanzas.
· Four lines in each stanza.…read more

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