Castle Boterel is about an old man returning to a place that is significant to his youth and his love.
Hardy starts the poem visualising a wet and gloomy day. He says:
“And the drizzle bedrenches the waggonette”, “And see on its slope, now glistening wet.” He does this to contrast with the time he was there with his love, trying to show that when she was there it was bright and sunny and without her it is all dull and wet.Order now
Hardy makes use of contrast to show the importance of his love. In the third verse he leads the leader to believe there is little significance in what they said.
He tells us:
“What we did as we climbed, and what we talked of matters not much, nor to what it led.”
But he also said, “was there ever a time of such quality.” This tells us that it does matter to him and his love. He uses this technique in the fourth and fifth verse by saying:
“It filled but a minute.” And, “That we two passed.
It filled but a minute means that it only filled a minute and that’s all.
“That we two passed,” means that there were so much beautiful things around them but they just passed without noticing them.
In the forth verse Hardy asks:
“Was there ever a time of such quality, since or before, in that hill’ story.”
Here he questions whether there was ever a more quality time since the hill was made, which is ant the begging of time. He mentions that thousands more people have climbed the hill but in his mind, his was the most special. In the next verse he mentions ‘primeval rocks’ as if they are witnesses of everything that has happened on that hill since the beginning of time, confirming that his was the most significant.
In the fifth verse he uses words like ‘unflinching rigour in mindless route.’ This means that through time he never backed off and thoroughly learnt the route like a parrot, repeating it again and again.
The last verse shows him leaving it. ‘Shrinking, shrinking,’ means getting distant. What he then means by ‘for the very last time’ is that he’s dying. He makes it out that his time is up by saying, “for my sand is sinking”, like a sand timer. He finishes by saying that, “I shall traverse old love’s domain never again.” By this last comment he means that this is the last time he will see the place where something good happened between him and his love.
Hardy, throughout the whole poem uses contrast to show his time with her is not significant but then shows that it is.