Sunday 19 October 2014


2014-41  Thomas Hardy Poem: The Blinded [Divine] Bird  
Thomas Hardy [1840-1928]
Thomas HardyOM [1840-1928] was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William WordsworthCharles Dickens was another important influence. 
While Hardy wrote poetry throughout his life and regarded himself primarily as a poet, his first collection was not published until 1898. Initially, therefore, he gained fame as the author of novels, which include Far from the Madding Crowd [1874], The Mayor of Casterbridge [1886], Tess of the d'Urbervilles [1891], and Jude the Obscure [1895]. Most of his fictional works were set in Wessex, a semi-fictional region in South England

In his Studies in English Literature Series I, Sir Arthur Quiller Couch discusses the Poetry of Thomas Hardy. He says that Hardy’s heart is strangely tender and even Blake's heart was not tenderer than Hardy's. He pauses for proof by one short poem The Blinded Bird, which  I would rather call or rechristen The Divine Bird.  Judge me after studying the poignant poem!



So zestfully canst thou sing?
And all this indignity,
With God's consent, on thee!
Blinded ere yet a-wing
By the red-hot needle thou,
I stand and wonder how
So zestfully thou canst sing!

Resenting not such wrong,
Thy grievous pain forgot,
Eternal dark thy lot,
Groping thy whole life long;
After that stab of fire;
Enjailed in pitiless wire;
Resenting not such wrong!

Who hath charity?This bird.
Who suffereth long and is kind,
Is not provoked, though blind
And alive ensepulchred?
Who hopeth, endureth all things?
Who thinketh no evil, but sings?
Who is divine?This bird.

I quote below four lines from The Holy Bible KJV [I Corinthians Chapter 13 lines 4-8] so that you may be able to appreciate the above poem better on second reading:

4 Charity* suffereth long, and is kind; 
      charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
      is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
      but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things,
       hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth…

*Charity = Love



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