The first poem Hardy wrote after the death of Emma was The Going in December 1912. This poem has a highly regular rhythm and rhyme, with the important words often rhyming at the end of the lines to draw attention to them. The title of the poem is a euphemism for death, and he continues with these throughout the poem, using phrases such as vanishing, close your term here and where I could not follow. This poem is written as if Hardy is addressing Emma.
In the first stanza, Hardy addresses and questions his dead wife, and gives a sense of what seems like anger and irritation towards her, that she gave him no hint that she was going to die. He suggest she was indifferent and didnt care about leaving him, and this shows how he is grieving and maybe not thinking straight. He emphases her swift, quick death as she left with wing of swallow but this imagery also suggests her beauty in his eyes and how much he will miss her. Now he regrets he cannot follow her and he knows he will not gain one glimpse of her ever anon.
The start of the second stanza reiterates how he did not know that Emma was going to die and again he shows his regret that he could never bid good-bye. His use of soft sounds indicates his wish that he could give the softest call to say goodbye to her properly, and this is reinforced by his use of alliteration in the soft, wishful sounds of utter a wish for a word, while. These soft sounds are then quickly replaced by the harsh reality of the situation, as Hardy sees morning harden upon the wall. The rest of the stanza is concentrated on how much her death has affected him and more precisely how he did not know that it would affect him so much. The assonance in the gloomy sounds of unmoved, unknowing reflects his mood at this point, and again the rhyme draws attention to the important words in the poem unknowing¦..great going that he did not know how much her death would grieve him.
The third stanza, like the first, starts with a question aimed towards Emma. He asks her why she makes him leave the house and why he sees visions of her. Again, there is a sense of irritation as if it is her fault for causing him this suffering. Hardy says that he imagines seeing her again and maybe that he is seeing hallucinations of her as he tells Emma., I think for a breath it is you I see.
He tells us that then he realises it is not her, and becomes bitter and upset once again. The rhyming of darkening darkness¦.yawning blankness emphasises to the reader the huge emptiness he feels now that his wife is dead, and how her memory is already gradually fading away from him, in the same way as the visions he experiences do as he gets closer. The exclamation mark at the end of the stanza makes it seem as if he is shouting in frustration, at how much the experience sickens me!.
In the fourth stanza, Hardy changes into the past tense, and the poem becomes more cheerful as he remembers the time the two of them spent together. There is a large amount of imagery used in this stanza, which Hardy uses to show the beauty of his wife, and the strength of their relationship. The red-veined rocks symbolise the passion and love he felt for Emma. He says she was the swan-necked one, a statement of her beauty and he describes her riding along the beetling Beeny Crest with him, maybe a sign they were happy and free to do what they wanted to, and how this contrasts to his feelings now. In the last line of this stanza, Hardy changes his language from me and you to us, which shows how their relationship grew stronger and they grew to love each other and be together more in the good times when life unrolled us its very best.
Again, the fifth stanza starts with a question, but this time the impression is given that Hardy is talking to himself, and not addressing Emma. This stanza tells us how later on in their relationship Hardy and Emma did not speak. Hardy shows a huge amount of regret and sadness in this stanza, that he did not talk to her properly and that their relationship got weaker before she died. He then moves back to happier memories of the distant past, and describes them together in bright spring weather: a pathetic fallacy whereby the weather shows the mood at that time.
In the final stanza of this poem Hardy appears to give up all hope and becomes resigned to the situation. He adopts a very conversational tone and uses caesura to show that he is talking, using colloquialisms such as well, well!. In the last lines of the poem Hardy feels as if he will sink down soon into despair. These lines are directed at Emma, as he again tells her, but this time in stronger terms, that he did not know how her swift fleeing¦¦would undo me so. He uses pause between the caesuras to increase the impact of each short statement.
In The Haunter, Hardy writes the poem as if it was his dead wife talking to him. He imagines Emma can see him and feel his emotions as a means of consoling himself. However, the main emotions which come out of this poem are Hardys guilt and regret and, although he adopts his wifes voice, it is his emotions which come through strongly in the poem.
He appears to be haunted by memories, which may be the reason for the title of the poem. Alternatively, it could be that he sees his wife as a ghost haunting him. Each stanza has the same words rhyming at the end of every second line; know¦.go¦.do¦.thereto. These are important as they show Hardys mains hopes about his wife; that she knows everything hes doing and thinking, but the go shows he knows she has gone for ever and there is nothing he can do to go there and be with her.
The poem opens with irony as Emma says he does not think I haunt here nightly, when he is writing the poem. This shows Hardy hopes she is there with him, but that he just cant see her; but in reality he probably knows she is not really there and it is just wishful thinking. This line also starts the theme which continues throughout the stanza: that Emma is always there with him. The repetition of hover and hover reinforces this point. Hardy is creating ideas which he hopes his wife would have about him, as a way of comforting himself.
Hardys feelings of guilt and regret come through strongly in the second stanza. He did not do many of the things he should when he had the chance and this is shown by the repetition of when I could in the first two lines of this stanza. Emma says how she would like to join his journeys, which shows Hardy feels guilty that he didnt let her go with him when he went away, and now blames himself that they didnt spend enough time together. The voice of his wife tells us that he misses me more than he used to do which means he didnt realise how much he needed her when she was alive but now he knows that he did and he misses her even more. Emma is described as a faithful phantom, which suggests that she was loyal to him, and maybe that he was not as faithful to her. The alliteration is soft to suggest the kindness and beauty of Emma.
In stanza three, there is a large amount of imagery, as Emma tells us how she likes to accompany him to places. There is a strong sense of night time in the opening of this stanza, as dreamers, shy hares and night rooks are mentioned. Emma tells us she follows Hardy into old aisles, which show Hardy is still thinking about the past, which is all to him, because he is reminiscing the happy times when Emma was alive and with him, and he now thinks he will not get that happiness back. However, although she is his shade suggesting she is like his shadow and always with him she is always lacking the power to call to him. We get the sense that, although Hardy is trying to believe his wife is near him, he is upset and frustrated that he can and will never talk to her.
In the final stanza of this poem, Hardy is trying to cheer himself up, as this is what he thinks his wife would want. The reader is told that if Hardy but sigh, Emma goes straight to his side. This shows that when Hardy is upset, he thinks of Emma to try to console himself. Hardy tries to make himself feel better by thinking that Emma would want him to be in gloom no longer. This show he wants to be happier but he cannot so now he has to think Emma wants him to be happier as well.
The Voice, also written in December 1912, is a much more eerie and less rhythmical poem than the first two. However, although there is less rhythm and structure to the poem, it still has a strong and continual rhyme. The title of the poem indicates that now Hardy can now hear Emmas voice and the poem is written in the first person, as Hardy reveals his feelings and memories.
As The Voice opens, Hardy shows us his grief and sadness as he describes his wife as woman much missed. The sounds alliterate to draw attention to their importance right at the start of the poem, as this will be a continual theme throughout. The words call to me, call to me are repeated at the end of the first line and this give the impression that although she is calling to him, like an echo to show how her voice is fading away from Hardy, along with his memories of her.
This repetition also gives the impression that Emma is insistent to reach Hardy and will not give up. Hardy informs us that Emma tells him she is not the same as she was when she changed from the one that was all to Hardy. Hardy believes Emma is saying to him that she is not now as she was when Hardy changed and maybe stopped loving her, but she is the same as she was when they were in love. This shows that this is how Hardy remembers Emma, when their day was fair and their life was better than when they started to split apart. In the last line, Hardy changes from using you and me to our to show that now he is thinking of them together and happy.
Hardy then looks back to the past and his memories of his wife, and imagines a perfect image of her in his head. He sees the memory very clearly and includes a lot of detail to show this. He can remember her even to the original air-blue gown, which is a pleasant and cheerful colour, showing the mood in the memory. It is one specific memory he is thinking about and, as he sees it more clearly, Hardy becomes exited and shows this through the caesura of yes and the exclamation mark at the end of the line, as if he is becoming louder and more energised.
The transition between stanzas is a change between Hardys happiness in the past and his grief now. The sounds change from joyous to heavy, as does the mood of the poem. The whole stanza is a question, asking if it is really Emma talking or just the wind that Hardy can hear, although the reader will know that Hardy knows the answer to his own question. The listlessness of the breeze is a pathetic fallacy of Hardys mood, and the words such as listlessness and wet mead are onomatopoeic as they are heavy and sound tired, as if now he knows that his wife is fading away from him. Hardy tells Emma she is being dissolved and dying away from him. This suggests he has realised her voice is not real and just in his mind and she will be heard no more again.
The lines in the last stanza of the poem are shorter than those in other stanzas. This gives the impression that the poem is fading away on the page, as Emma is ebbing away from Hardys memories. This stanza shows Hardy is now resigned to the fact that he is never going to hear her voice again and does not really make sense, maybe showing Hardys tiredness. The pathetic fallacy of leaves around me falling gives an impression of things dying and coming to an end and the unpleasant assonance used in the wind oozing thin through the thorn gives and unpleasant feel to the end of the poem. This stanza shows that Hardy feels he cannot move on because of his memories and the woman calling. This last line completes the eerie sense given in the poem and relates back to the start of the poem, giving the sense that what has happened in this poem keeps on happening to Hardy, and there is nothing he can do to stop it.
Beeny Cliff has a strong rhythm and strong rhyme, using the same sounds at the end of each line of each stanza. Beeny Cliff was a special place for Hardy and Emma that they visited together.
O at the start of the poem indicates Hardys happiness and excitement as he reminisces about him and Emma. The first line is full of description and imagery, and the opal and the sapphire suggest preciousness and beauty a description of the sea in the poem, but a description of his wife in Hardys mind. Hardys description of Emma is almost angelic as she is described as the woman riding high above with bright hair flapping free. The alliteration is an onomatopoeia of the wind and the high wind suggests high spirits between Hardy and Emma. Hardy also states that he loved Emma and she loyally loved him, suggesting that, although they both loved each other, she was more faithful than he was. Hardy knows this and is therefore now regretting that he did not make the most of his time with her when she was alive.
In the next stanza Hardy concentrates on how when they were together, nothing or no one could touch them. Hardy tells us that birds were plained below them and seemed far away, to show they were only concentrating on each other and nothing else could distract them. The waves are shown to be what could be a big distraction by the onomatopoeic sibilance of engrossed in saying their ceaseless babbling say, but Hardy and Emma were engrossed in each other thereby showing how close they were at this point in time. They laughed light-heartedly aloft which reinforces their high spirits and again suggests their height above everything else happening. Pathetic fallacy is also used to show the mood on that clear-sunned March day.
This pathetic fallacy continues throughout the third stanza, as Hardy uses it to show that the mood is changing. A little cloud cloaked them and there was an irised rain, which shows that this trip to Beeny Cliff is like their relationship. These small changes in weather show there are some bad times in the relationship between them, but it is never enough to force them apart and these blips are just a dull disfeatured stain, the same as the cloud is on the landscape. However, although the sun burst out again, the cloud was an indication to them that foreshadowed worse things to come, as now purples prinked the main.
The at the start of the fourth stanza indicates to the reader that Hardy is going from the past into the present. Hardy tells us that old Beeny is still in all its chasmal beauty. The use of old shows familiarity and Hardy is showing that he is in a familiar place to contrast his unfamiliar emotions. In addition, this line shows that, although a lot has happened to him, the things and landscape around him are still the same as they used to be; huge and gaping but still beautiful. Hardy asks himself with a sense of wistfulness if she and I [Hardy] could not go there again and repeat the sweet things said in that March. He does not use we, which shows he feels they will never be together again and, although he asks the question, he knows he cannot see her again.
The caesura of Nay. at the start of the concluding stanza shows Hardy coming back to reality, and answering his own question. He repeats that Beeny has the same chasmal beauty but this time it is a wild weird western shore. This tells us that things around him have stayed the same, but Hardy sees them differently now in a worse light, as this is the effect his wifes death has had on him. Hardy says the woman is nowelsewhere; the pauses are showing he doesnt want to say Emma is dead, and he is thinking of a euphemism. She nor knows nor cares for Beeny and has moved on, but Hardy has not and is still stuck in the past. The end of the poem is very final, as if Hardy has eventually made up his mind; that she will see it nevermore.
In At Castle Boterel, written in March 1913, Hardy again remembers him and his wife together in happier times. Again, a strong sense of rhyme and rhythm appears throughout the poem. Most of the poem is a euphemism for Hardys thoughts, memories, feelings and emotions as he is writing.
The poem opens in the present as Hardy gives a description of himself driving through the drizzle in a wagonette to the junction. This suggests he will have to make a decision as to which path he should take, as he does in life to decide whether to move on from thinking about Emma. He looks behind at the fading byway; a euphemism for him looking back into the past.
His memories show him with a girlish form Emma in a chaise in dry March weather. Although he is looking into the past, he writes in the present tense, to show how involved he is in his own memory and how he wants it to be real and actually happening. The contrast between the wagonette, a heavy, large vehicle, in which he is driving in the present and the chaise, a small, light vehicle, which he was driving in in the past, is a reference to the happiness he felt then, and the gloom that hangs over him now that Emma is dead. The contrasting pathetic fallacies drizzle and dry March weather further reinforce this point. Hardy describes himself and Emma as we throughout the stanza, which indicates their togetherness.
Hardy goes on to tell us that it matters not much what he and Emma talked about on that journey, and he also states it doesnt matter to what it led. This is strange as it surely led to Hardy and Emma falling in love and getting married and he is now saying that this didnt matter. He continues the point by saying what it led to is something life cannot be balked of, so love is an inevitable part of life. He tells us that it cannot be stopped until something happens so that hope is dead, and feeling fled. This is maybe a sign that Hardy is starting to recover from the death of his wife, and has maybe realised he could have done nothing to stop it.
Hardy reveals how much he treasured the moments he had with his wife, by telling us that there was never a time of such quality, since or before, in that hills story. He asks this as a question as if he is challenging anyone to disagree with his view, as he is right. The fact that Hardy thinks that this moment is the most important ever to happen on the hill, though it has been climbed¦by thousands more tells the reader that he is now extremely focused on himself and his wife, and cannot think of anything or anyone else but her, showing that the impression he gave in the previous stanza was false.
In the next stanza, Hardy states that their passing has been recorded in the colour and cast of the primeval rocks and will now be for always. He feels that although their passing, and therefore their relationship, is only transitory in Earths long order, so only happened for a short time, they have helped to change things happening on the Earth. He thinks these changes will be left behind after he is gone she has gone already. This is a happy moment for Hardy as he thinks about the impact Emma and he had and this is shown through his pause in the middle of the last line, as he reflects on what he is saying.
In the penultimate stanza, Hardy comes back into the present and reflects that Times unflinching rigour has taken his wife, and it cannot be stopped, so there is no way of going back once an event has passed. All that is left for him to see is one phantom figure, there is nothing real remaining, only his memories. He feels as if he has left Emma behind and is being forced further and further away from her; she is disappearing into the distance.
Hardy reverts to the use of I in the final stanza. He looks back and sees the figure shrinking, shrinking. This repetition is like an echo fading away; to show that, although he is still having the memories, they are fading away and he will never get them back. He finishes with a great sense of finality; that he is now seeing her for the very last time. He says his sand is sinking, this reference to an hourglass meaning his time is nearly up, and he believes that he will soon die as well. The ending is very powerful and final, as Hardy states that he
shall traverse old loves domain
His use of old suggests a familiarity; that he has revisited his memories too often, and now wants to move on. The caesura gives the statement a sense of finality so that it stands out as the main fact to come from this poem, that he now has accepted he cannot go back to Emma, and will not let his memories and grief overcome him.
The Phantom Horsewoman is written in the voice of a person observing the behaviour of Hardy, in the first person. There is a very regular and repetitive rhyming pattern throughout every stanza, which suggests that Hardys life has become repetitive, as all he does is think about his wife. Now Hardy himself knows he needs to move on but he shows this through an observer.
The whole of the first stanza is a euphemism for Hardys thoughts and feelings and how he, Hardy, describes himself as queer which shows he knows the behaviour he is experiencing is not normal to him. He is described as a man I know to show that it is not Hardy talking, but someone describing his ways. Hardy is portrayed as being in a careworn craze, which tells us that the emotions he is feeling have worn him down and are maybe even driving him mad. The next few lines suggest Hardy is looking back but what he sees is unclear. This is shown as he looks at the sands, suggesting time as this is a reference to an hourglass, but there is a seaward haze so his memories are indistinct and vague.
The use of moveless hands in reference to a clock show time stands still when he looks into the past. When he turns to go¦ Hardy pauses showing his regret to leave and regret to move back into the present. The use of rhyme in this stanza draws attention to the connected and important ideas: stands, sands and hands show the idea of time in reference to an hourglass and a clock and the impression that it stands still when Hardy looks back to the past; craze, haze and gaze are also connected, as they show how Hardy is looking back but is unsure what to make of what he remembers. The stanza ends with the question of what he sees when he gazes so?
The second stanza answers the question posed at the end of the first. There is a strong and clear contrast between the haze and indistinctness in the present as shown in stanza I and the clarity and deep description used in stanza II, looking back into Hardys memories of the past. This point is reinforced as we are told what he sees is more clear than today.
The description used has a happy and joyous tone because his memories are warm, real and keen. Hardy sets a pleasant scene using a rhythmical tone, as if suggesting the rhythm of the sea. This shows that Hardys memories of the past are happier and he would much rather be living in the past than in his life now. The sibilance of the sweet soft scene implies the softness of his past life and points to the sound and rhythm of the sea, as does the description of that briny green. The end of the stanza tells us that he sees in his memories a phantom of his own figuring; he is remembering the past but he knows it is not real now, no matter how much he wants it to be.
Hardy then tells us that of this vision they might say more because there is more to him than a man looking at the sea. He sees his wife not only there but he sees her everywhere and all the time as shown by day, night. His memories are vivid and bright as if they were drawn rose-bright on the air and they are all consuming to him as if he is almost haunted by them. At the end of the stanza, Hardy pauses, as if to think, before reiterating the same point again that he has to carry this vision, to make this point clear to the reader.
At the start of the final stanza, Hardy describes what this vision is. He tells us he sees a girl-ghost-rider, using a compound word to describe exactly what he sees in his visions. The sounds in the alliteration are happy and soft when Hardy describes Emma, and contrast the harsh sounds Hardy uses to describe himself; toil-tried. Hardy also tells us that although he withers daily, and is always getting older, time touches her not and she is always the same in his thoughts and memories of her. She still rides gaily in his rapt thought, which shows that his memories of her are when she was happy and free, and that he cannot think of anything else but her. The harsh sounds in the alliteration of shagged and shaly drag him back to reality and back to the sea, which is the idea the whole poem revolves around. The last line of the poem shows that Hardys lasting memory of Emma will be a happy one; Emma is singing to the swing of the tide, and that the sea will always be in his memories of her, as it was a special place for them.
In conclusion, we can see clearly how Hardy attitude and response to the death of Emma changed over time through his poems. At first he is grieving and mourning her, and wishes he could bring her back; he thinks it is his fault that she has died and regrets that their relationship was not as happy as it had been and he wishes he had had a chance to say goodbye to her. However, he stops being so overcome by guilt and regret and focuses more on his memories of himself and Emma in happier times such as on Beeny Cliff. The main devices Hardy repeatedly uses are writing the poems sometimes not using himself as the first person and euphemism in place of saying what has actually happened, especially when referring to Emmas death.