However, pulse also has an agricultural connotation, as does the word germ. Pulse and germ, or germination, in terms of agriculture, refers to cycles of pods, which refers to resurgence, renewal, and new life. Hardy then states that this ‘renewal of life’ was shrunken hard and dry, indicating its death. This coincides perfectly with Hardy’s idea that the turn of the century signals the point in which time will stop, and that no ‘renewal of life’ is foreseeable. The second interesting thing about the second octave was the wording in which it ended.
Hardy does not speak of mankind, like in the first octave, but speaks of “spirits”, and how they are “fervourless”. “Fervourless” is more then just a lack of passion or expression, but literally means without warmth, such as the bodies of the deceased. Hardy alters the mood of the poem in the third octave, when he hears the first sign of a vigorous, energetic creature in The Darkling Thrush. At once a voice arose among The bleak twigs overhead In a full-hearted evensong Of joy illimited; A darkling thrush is normally a very small, colorful bird, which is more often heard than seen.
Hardy’s describes his thrush in similar fashion as he described everything else bleak in the world, as “aged, frail, and gaunt. ” However, despite the “growing gloom” of the physical world, the thrush had chosen to “fling his soul. ” Here, Hardy is carefully wording the image of a powerful source of splendor existing in a world of unsightliness. A small, fragile thrush had the courage to sing optimistically in spite of the tomblike desolation during the funeral of the eighteenth century. The forth and final octave of the poem illustrates a conflict in the mental state of Hardy.
Although the song of the thrush has not convinced him that the dismal condition of the world is imaginary, it has caused him to “think. ” The winter earth still leaves “little cause for carolings”, and Hardy still remains on the deathbed of an old century. Furthermore, the fact that the “blessed Hope” is a positive awareness the bird has and of which he is unaware, instills a final sense of despair upon the conclusion of the poem. Immersing “The Darkling Thrush” in a lifeless setting, absent of all but one moment of optimistic existence,
Thomas Hardy intertwines a combination of figurative language, pessimistic metaphors, and depressing similes into his work, providing a foundation of depressing and miserable emotions for his very existence. Even when Hardy captures a glimpse of exuberance from an aged, frail, and gaunt thrush, he asserts that his personal difficulties expel him from the possibilities of knowing hope. As all indications of hope diminished with “the weakening eye of the day”, Thomas Hardy employed the poetic mechanism of imagery to illustrate a desperate and unpromising centennial