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The going Thomas Hardy Thomas Hardy's poem 'The Going' expresses the sorrow and regret Hardy

y feels following the death of his wife Emma, in September 1912. Hardy speaks of a faded happiness in between them and the days long dead when they were youthful. He asks 'Why did you give no hint that night' as a gentle accusation, as if blameful of his late wife to think that he would not care of her illness while slightly blaming himself that he had not better expressed his unconditional love for her, in her death more apparent than ever. The poem has to do with a woman (his estranged wife, Emma) who left suddenly through death. The speaker laments not only her loss, but the loss of the moment when he might have known she was leaving. Because he did not know she was leaving, he was not allowed the moments significance or sorrow. Hardys poetry have the ghostliness of loss. They hint at something of Donne and anticipate something of Audenbut they have an idiosyncratic mixture of song-like cadence and stark individual expression. In this poem, the verse is accentual, with alternating stanza patterns. The first, third, and fifth stanzas begin with the question Why and follow the pattern (of stress counts per line): 4 4 4 4 2 2 4. The even-numbered stanzas give no answer, but instead reflect on something that the question brought up. Their stress count pattern is 3 3 4 4 2 2 4. Both stanza types have the same rhyme scheme: ABABCCB. The Why stanzas are somewhat stylized; the reflective stanzas, while close in form, contain a more private and unusual language. The rule does not always hold but describes the overall gist. Here is the first stanza: Why did you give no hint that night That quickly after the morrows dawn, And calmly, as if indifferent quite, You would close your term here, up and be gone aaaaaWhere I could not follow aaaaaWith wing of swallow To gain one glimpse of you ever anon! The word quite may sound, to the modern ear, a little stilted after the adjective indifferent, but thats due to our tone-deafness, not any enhanced modern sensibility. I will discuss quite more at the end; it has rich meaning and was still used after the adjective in Hardys time. Its use in that position was already somewhat archaic (it seems) but still had meaning and resonance. But look at the second and third lines of The Going: That quickly after the morrows dawn, / And calmly, as if indifferent quite. The words quickly and quite form the outer ends of a series of symmetrical alliterations and assonances. Dawn and calmly contain the same vowel sound (and prominently so); dawn and indifferent punctuate

the d sound. The sounds of these lines suggest something enclosed, wrapped upthe one who departed, or the one left behind, or the closed-up term itself. Now the second stanza: aaaaaNever to bid good-bye aaaaaOr lip me the softest call, Or utter a wish for a word, while I Saw morning harden upon the wall, aaaaaUnmoved, unknowing aaaaaThat your great going Had place that moment, and altered all. There are the stunning lines while I / Saw morning harden upon the wall, and That your great going / Had place that moment, and altered all. I pause over That your great going / Had place that moment, and altered all, which suggests time, place, and motion all in onea moment that physically exists and is gone, and in going takes something great away, but without the speakers knowledge. He saw morning harden on the wall (also a unity of thing, time, and motion) and was oblivious to the greater and more terrible unity. The third stanza cries: Why do you make me leave the house And think for a breath it is you I see At the end of the alley of bending boughs Where so often at dusk you used to be; aaaaaTill in darkening dankness aaaaaThe yawning blankness Of the perspective sickens me! What a contrastbetween the end of the alley of bending boughs and The yawning blankness / Of the perspective. It is a contrast not only between the memory and the loss, not only between the hope and the disappointment, but also between a lilting, lyrical language and something vacant and strange. Without knowing it, the speaker is emerging into his own life, which to him seems desolate but rings fiercely. The next stanza evokes memories of the departed one, who used to ride horseback Along the beetling Beeny Crest and would rein near the speaker (not reignI believe the homophone is significant) and muse and eye him While Life unrolled us its very best. aaaaaYou were she who abode aaaaaBy those red-veined rocks far West, You were the swan-necked one who rode Along the beetling Beeny Crest, aaaaaAnd, reining nigh me, aaaaaWould muse and eye me, While Life unrolled us its very best.

Now, to beetle in this context is to project or overhang threateningly; Beeny Crest is a cliff in Cornwall that overlooks the sea (cf. Hardys Beeny Cliff). Thus the very best of life already has something foreboding in ita precipice and a woman who only reins nigh him but does not stay. Its the red-veined rocks and the swan-necked one and the musing and eying that make up this good Life unrolling. Now life is unrolling again (as we see in the final stanza), but in a different way, and with different lyric. The next stanza is to me the saddest: Why, then, latterly did we not speak, Did we not think of those days long dead, And ere your vanishing strive to seek That times renewal? We might have said, aaaaaIn this bright spring weather aaaaaWell visit together Those places that once we visited. The plea seems already an admission of defeat; the speaker knows that there would have been no new places to visit, that the best they could have done would have been to visit together / Those places that once we visited. And yet, isnt that what long-term spouses do? Does it really suggest an end to love? That frail hope that something might be renewed through revisitingis it really that frail? But here the speaker recognizes, for the first time, that the failing was not only the womans, but his as well. Why didnt we think of doing that? It would have been so simple, the stanza suggests. Theres a poignancy and a gentleness in the last three lines, the words that could have been uttered by either one but were not: In this bright spring weather / Well visit together / Those places that once we visited. This seems to point toward a reconciliation, which the final stanza only partly provides. Yes, it seems that the speaker has accepted the state of thingsbut this does not prevent or ease his final cry. aaaaaWell, well! Alls past amend, aaaaaUnchangeable. It must go. I seem but a dead man held on end To sink down soon. O you could not know aaaaaThat such swift fleeing aaaaaNo soul foreseeing Not even Iwould undo me so! There is the matter-of-fact Well, well! Alls past amend, / Unchangeable. It must go. It sounds like someone shaking his head and getting on with his day. But that isnt quite the point; its his own life that seems about to go; he seems but a dead man held on end / To sink down soon. Then comes the brilliant unraveling of the final lines, which have a complex grammatical structure. You here is the subject, know the main verb; then, the subordinate clause such swift fleeing would undo me so has the participial phrase No soul foreseeing, which modifies the fleeingand then the phrase Not even I, which in turn modifies No soul foreseeing.

Thus the speaker is included among all souls, none of whom foresaw the swift fleeing, which in turn has undone the speakeran event that the one addressed could not have foreseen. There are two levels of foreseeing: foreseeing the fleeing itself, and foreseeing how it would undo the speaker. Now back to the word quite. One finds it in Shakespeare where rhyme does not require it, for instance, in Henry VI, Part 1: Lords, view these letters full of bad mischance. France is revolted from the English quite, Except some petty towns of no import: Quite derives from the adverbial form of the Middle English quit, quite, which meant free, clear. It originally meant thoroughly but came to mean somewhat. It is related to quit and quiet and even to while; it derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *qwirest. One can hear all of those tinges of meaning in Hardys quite in the first stanza. It is about quitting, quiet, utter removal, and thoroughness, all of which come up in the final stanza again.

Detailed commentary Poems about Emma In these poems Hardy explores the guilt he feels for his neglect of Emma, his first wife, over the latter years of their marriage. He uses his writing to absolve himself of this guilt and come to terms with it. The Going The Going, like most of the pieces in this section, is written in the first person - here Hardy evidently speaks for himself. The poem is in the form of a monologue addressed to Emma, containing many questions. She alone can give the answers. Detailed commentary Hardy asks Emma why she did not alert him to her imminent death, but left him as if indifferent quite to his feelings, without bidding him farewell: neither softly speaking words of parting, nor even asking him to speak a last word to her. He notes how, as the day dawned, he was unaware of what was happening to his wife, and of how this altered all. Hardy asks Emma why she compels him to go outside, making him think, momentarily, that he sees her figure in the dusk, in the place where she used to stand, but ultimately distressing him as, in the gathering gloom, he sees only yawning blankness and not the familiar figure of Emma.

Turning back to the days when Emma's youth and beauty captivated him, Hardy wonders why, in later years, the joys of their courtship were neither remembered nor revived. He imagines how they might have rekindled their love by revisiting the places where they met while courting. Finally Hardy concedes that what has happened cannot be changed and that he is as good as dead, waiting for the end ( to sink down soon ) and, in conclusion, informs Emma that she could not know how so sudden and unexpected a passing as hers could distress him as much as it has. The metre of the poem is surprisingly lively, though the rhythm breaks down in the disjointed syntax and brief sentences of the final stanza. The brief rhyming couplet in the penultimate two lines of each stanza exaggerate this jauntiness, which seems rather inappropriate to the subject of the piece. Though the reader sympathises with Hardy's evident grief, it is difficult not to be a little impatient with his tendency to wallow in self-pity. He reproaches Emma for leaving him, and thinks despairingly of his and her failure to rekindle, in later years, their youthful affection. Yet we feel that this is a tragedy largely of his own making. He has, after all, had some forty years in which to seek/That time's renewal. The fact that he expresses regret at his failure to do so only when the possibility has been removed by Emma's death casts doubt upon the sincerity of his grief. Simple explanation In 'The Going' Hardy is reflecting on Emma's death, his wife. It is written in a fast pace and portrays strong emotions and rhythm. In the first stanza, the first word is "why". This suggests a sudden urgencey and blame. He is accusing himself of her death and for their struggled relationship. "And calmly" implys that he believes Emma was happy to leave and escape his selfishness and neglect. In the second stanza he is also conveying his selfishness in grieving, it is only about him as if he was her priority when "going". In the stanza he is trying to tell Emma about his greif and emptyness. In the third stanza Hardy says "you" conveying that she was alone. This suggests that he neglected her when she was living. This is more regret. It is also a changing point in the poem as he is now focusing on her instead of his own selfishness. "darkening dankness...yawning blankness" is negetive as he has now realised that he was never there for Emma. No punctuation suggests this emptyness. In the fouth stanza he is viewing the beginning of their relationship and uses positive language. "us" suggests this and that they were close and very much together. In the 5th stanza he has altered back to negative language again reflecting on the "latter" point of their relationship. "days long dead" is where he is questioning the end of their relationship and why it changed for the worse. He is back to a resentful, blaming tone. It is the first reference he uses to death but instead of describing Emma he is talking about their relationship. This portrays that he believes their relationship died well before she did. In the final stanza the rhythm has broken down, representing how their relationship and he has. The disjointed end shows he is emotionally struggling