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The Voice

             Thomas Hardy has often been referred to, along with other poets of the time, as being on the "cusp" between Victorian and Modern Poetry. Hardy's life spanned 88 years, most of the Victorian era (1837 - 1908) from his birth in 1840 to his demise in 1928. Though he started out as a London architect, he ended up with an illustrious writing career. One of his most private poems is "The Voice", written just after his wife passed away in December of 1912. Despite their marriage being described as ominous, his desperation and loneliness over her death is evident in the language of this piece.
             The subject matter in this poem is obvious from the opening line "Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me," which confirms Thomas Hardy's love, and the loss he feels over the death of his wife. Hardy chose not to write blatantly about his late wife; instead, he indirectly channels his feelings to the reader through a soldier during the Great War of 1914, during which this poem was written, and about the soldiers mourning for his partner. These two themes, love and loss, reoccur regularly throughout the poem. " When you had changed form the one was all to me, but as at first when our day was fair." Complimenting these themes is desperation, which is shown as the poet describes a voice that he cannot possibly be hearing but through his need for her at this time of great fear, he does. .
             Typical to the Victorian era which focused on death, the mood is daunting and often unsettling, broken only by a brief flicker of pleasure in the second stanza as Hardy reminisces back to the lovers first meeting. " Let me view you then, standing as when I drew near to the town where you would wait for me." Lines like this are perhaps what made Thomas Hardy's poetry stand out the most. Though he approaches death with the same contempt and sadness as the many others did, his approach to the afterlife is one of temptation.

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