Comparison Of "Ode to Melancholy" by John Keats and The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy


Keats's "Ode to Melancholy" and Hardy's "The Darkling Thrush" bring forth their own melancholy themes and perspectives. I will be arguing about how Hardy's poem brings the readers' perspective about life into one of dark hopelessness whereas, Keats's poem brings good things in life into the light and sees the good things despite all the bad things in life into one's view. In connection with what is happening now, as this year of 2020 has been a dark shadow over our country, and every one's lives are being affected by the pandemic and political issues we currently face, it is easy to see more of the bad than the good that seems to be taking place. Readers' can relate to the feeling of despair and hopelessness that both poets display in their poems. But despite the challenging circumstances we face now, there is good in that as this pandemic has caused families and households to reconnect and have been able to spend more time together.

In Keats' poem "Ode to Melancholy," his entrance into his first stanza speaks to the reader, "No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist; Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine" (Keats, line 1-2) in this statement he advises and refers to "Lethe" or hell, but also is advising in his poem that no matter how sad and hard things get do not give into or "twist" the substances at hand "poisonous wine" to forget the problems in reality and escape the sadness temporally. That drinking away from one's problems or being under the influence of "wolfs-bane" (influences, like drugs, alcohol, or any form of substance abuse) will not help. Keat's poem makes this realization in highlighting the fact of understanding the good in one's life and what one has to look forward to in life despite the problems one faces.

 In Hardy's poem "The Darkling Thrush," his perspective is mostly seen as dreary and grim. His first stanza starts with a dark detailed description of the world in which the poet speaks of his environment with the words, "I leaned upon the coppice gate When the frost was specter-grey, And the dregs of the winter made desolate." (Hardy, Line 1-3) The beginning of Hardy's descriptive stanza demonstrates his discolored or tainted view of the world. As winter is the season of things dying and the silence of snow and gray skies have his perspective gray and dim, show how "dead" it is in his eyes.  With these words, the reader can feel a sense of sadness and depression with Hardy's poem as he continues to describe the environment that surrounds him while he leans on the gate, on the part of a road that leads into the forest. While the winter frost is grey and deathlike, the end of a winter day changes how the sun shines into the bleakness of the sky as the sun sets continues to describe the gloominess that surrounds him.

In addition to Hardy's impression of winter's dark view, he notes the intertwined branches and crawling plants that run across the sky like broken instruments. While he stands out there alone, describing the world he sees, he observes his surroundings describing them as grey and dull.  The reader can connect with Hardy's bleak and grim description of the world because of the impression they create. In comparison with Hardy, Keats addresses the sadness and bleakness but in the way of helping the reader see what good there is in the beauty of little things. As in Hardy's poem, lines 7 and 8, "And all mankind that haunted nigh, Has sought out their household fires." Even in Hardy's poem, there is still a light whether he sees it or not. Keats would make the connection to warmth and fire and family as a positive thing. However, Hardy is blinded by his view of the surroundings he sees. Keast and I would argue with Hardy that even in the midst of all that, what is great is that in the death of winter, family comes home together in the heart of the house and the warmth of the hearth.        

As we can see, for example, in our world currently today, In the midst of this ongoing Covid Pandemic, what one can look to it as, instead of "the world being put on hold." I would

side with Keats's mindset as now, in the midst of all this uncertainty, what we do have right in front of us is family. Look at the ones you get to be home with your kids and your spouses. In an average everyday normal lifestyle, so many Americans are busy going here and going there. Moreover, being so caught up in work and school. That we as Humans forget that the ones we have, we forget to spend that time together in reconnecting a broken home, rekindling flames between husband and wife that in an average day would forget to appreciate and love each other passionately, Keats in his second stanza states, "Or if thy mistress rich sanger shows, Imprison her soft hand, and let her rave, And feed deep upon her peerless eyes" ( Keats, Stanza 2 Lines 18-20) 

with Hurt's grim perspective of the world, Alfred Noyes, a poetry scholar, and critic, gave an aligning criticism of Hardy's poem, stating how  Hurts described the land "Winter's dregs made so desolate the weakening eye of the day" ( Noyes, 97). His statement and criticism of how hurt grim depiction of winters day and fall connects with what he says "Represents the vast Intellectual and spiritual period of the nineteenth century that had ended" (Noyes,97). I believe that it was not an ending of a century but a rebirth of a new beginning. I would think that if both poets were in or the world today, they would have the same style and perspective they had then, but Keats' I feel, could agree with me on that no matter how bad things get, we still have each other and appreciate what we have and rebuild what was once broken.

In comparison to Hurts, beings to light the passing of time wand the inter days as "grey and ghost-like." Moreover, in connection to that, Keats also brings up how the passing of time and the melancholy strikes, but realizing the beauty in time is what Keats argues and differs from

hurts.  While hurts state the aspects of time, "His crypt the cloudy canopy, And every spirit upon the earth, Seemed fervourless as I." (Hurst, Stanza 3, Line 11-15-16) as his description stating the clouds are hanging from above like a "centuries tomb" as the wind played the melody of a sad howl upon death, and how all living things seems as sorrowful as he. It is only his perspective of what he chooses to see, as in the case of anyone. One can either choose to be sad, miserable, and grouchy.

Alternatively, as Keats give his statement on clouds and rain as, "Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, That fosters the droop-headed flowers all, And hides the green hill in an April shroud;" (Keats, Stanza 2, lines 12-13) In this statement, I perceive it as an argumentive against hurts in that, Keats makes light of the melancholy mood of clouds and rain, But what comes after that rain and cloudiness? The blooming of new life, green grass after April's showers.   Throughout Keats's poem, there is a connection with melancholy somber moods, just like Hurts, but the difference is that with Keats, he brings the reader out of the hole of sorrow and focuses the reader's perspective to a lighter mood.    

While Hurts, the poem is grim and dark, a critical review from Chris Saunders shows how that Hurts; poem connects to the ending of the 19th century. In that, he gave an example of how "Hardy was more interested in the rule life and the effects of industrialization and the progress on it. At the end of the period moving into cities and bigger developments made the agriculture decline" (Saunders, 1). Hurt's poem connects with the ending of the 19th century and his poetic description of the countryside's rule life. There is just that one perspective. An era was ending, but the light of beauty and new development and success comes to light.

As Keats's poetry describes, elegance and despair are therefore connected by their impermanence. "Beauty must die," since "Joy" is generally offering the joyful soul "goodbye." Moreover, even though one can encounter joy, it is always metaphorically within the way of "turning to poison"—because time will ultimately begin its end. Original to grace, the poem thus claims, might be a way of bitter sadness, given the knowledge that beauty will within the future begin anew.

While Keats's "Ode to Melancholy" and Hardy's "The Darkling Thrush" bring their own melancholy themes and perspectives. Keats's perspective is more of a self-guidance for the readers to understand That there is Good to see in the world. The small things to be appreciated.  Even if Hardy does not realize it in his grim tone, but in his first stanza's statement, "And all mankind that haunted nigh; Had sought their household fires" (Hardy, stanza 1, Line 7-8) It is that to which Ketas perspective would come to connect with the reader in a lighter perspective. In a more modern perspective, Currently, our world faces the Covid-19 Pandemic. These poems are relevant to our world today in that there is a "Hold on the world." What if we looked into Hardy's perspective? Seeing ourselves as 'stuck,' and nowhere to go or do as many of our younger generations' perspectives can be connected with Thomas Hardy's grim perspective. However, Keats would see this as A time to reconnect our families in our homes. Furthermore, at this time, there is still beauty in these hard times. The holidays pass, and our families are separate. As a poet in our time, Keats would see the vast technological opportunities that we have at hand to zoom still that it is not hopeless and that through this, our world is healing from this. 

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