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A Short Analysis of Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Ivy-Wife’

A summary of a Hardy poem

Thomas Hardy wrote hundreds of poems over a period spanning more than 50 years; he supposedly wrote his last poem as he lay on his death bed in 1928. Although some of his poems are anthology favourites and well-known, there are many less widely-known poems in his Collected Poems which are worth reading and, indeed, analysing. With that in mind, here is Thomas Hardy’s wonderful poem ‘The Ivy-Wife’, with a brief summary and analysis of it.

I longed to love a full-boughed beech
And be as high as he:
I stretched an arm within his reach,
And signalled unity.
But with his drip he forced a breach,
And tried to poison me. Read the rest of this entry


Five Fascinating Facts about Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Five fun facts about the Victorian poet, Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

1. He was the original ‘airy-fairy’ poet. The phrase ‘airy-fairy’ – now used as a derogatory term for something light and insubstantial – can be traced back to Tennyson’s use of it in one of his early poems, ‘Lilian’ (1830). The first line of ‘Lilian’ reads: ‘Airy, fairy Lilian…’ This phrase was taken up as a term of reproach for anything that was a bit fluffy and not grounded in reality, though the original meaning (‘now rare’, the Oxford English Dictionary informs us) was less pejorative: ‘having the ethereal qualities associated with a fairy’, ‘enchanting’, ‘magical’. This original meaning – also, of course, inspired by Tennyson’s poem – has given way to the ubiquitous sense of the phrase outlined above. Read the rest of this entry