Thomas Hardy

(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928 / Dorchester / England)

In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations'


Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.

Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by:
War's annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Rookie - 8 Points Kailan Li (6/5/2014 3:19:00 AM)

    Today, my professor introduced this poem to us in class and analysed it clearly.So I search it soon after class and I love it very much. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sam Wright (5/12/2012 7:23:00 AM)

    the first stanza's sombre lexis supported by the sibilance and regular rhyme scheme are a direct contrast to the loud barbaric and fast paced wars else where in the world. Though Dynasties pass is a significant line as its showing how these slower, less grand and noble activities, such as a farmer working his field, are timeless and will continue far beyond the impact and memory of wars in the Empire. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sam Wright (5/12/2012 7:23:00 AM)

    the first stanza's sombre lexis supported by the sibilance and regular rhyme scheme are a direct contrast to the loud barbaric and fast paced wars else where in the world. Though Dynasties pass is a significant line as its showing how these slower, less grand and noble activities, such as a farmer working his field, are timeless and will continue far beyond the impact and memory of wars in the Empire. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Andrew Hoellering (7/23/2009 9:56:00 AM)

    The title is significant. Like a dark night, war clouds everything, and Hardy with these perennial images is reassuring us (and himself) that come the day, peace with such scenes will once again prevail.
    The simplicity of the ballad form with its abab end-rhyme scheme is perfectly suited to the content of this fine poem. (Report) Reply

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