One of the most important devices used in poems could be how each phrase is fitted together. In ‘On Wenlock Edge’, caesuras are placed in some significant places. For example, in line three, the phrase ‘the gale, it plies …’ contains one. The caesura in that particular phrase gives a break after the word ‘gale’, and also gives an emphasis on the word. Housman intentionally does this to attract more attention on the word ‘gale’, as it is what the whole poem is centred on.
Caesuras are also used in ‘Beeny Cliff’, however, in a slightly different way. An example would be ‘The woman whom I loved so, and who …’. It is possible that Hardy stressed on the word ‘so’, to emphasize how much he loved her. However, Hardy carries on using caesuras in the middle of long phrases. In other words, I think that he only uses them in order to make his lines longer, and stanzas shorter. In the similar way, enjambments and end-stopping are used throughout both poems.Order now
In these two poems, Hardy and Housman have a close choice of vocabulary. As the contents of both poems associate the past with the present, they both use several old fashioned language. The words ‘yonder’ and ‘yeoman’, meaning over there, and an ordinary English man, are both old English. In ‘Beeny Cliff’, there are words, such as ‘anew’, meaning ‘again’. I think Hardy and Housman use this vocabulary to strengthen the connection between the past and the present in their poems.
Syntactic inversion takes an important role in both poems. When the order of elements in a sentence changes for a purpose, it usually creates a sense of old language. Housman uses several of these throughout the poem for many reasons. In the phrase ‘When Uricon the city stood’, syntactic inversion is used. Not only does this make it similar to the language in the past, but also, the word ‘Uricon’ is another name of an ancient city. This makes it even more obvious that Housman intentionally does this to link his poem with the past.
Carrying on with the idea of a spell-like poem, Hardy presents syntactic inversions in the similar way. The phrase ‘and there flew an irised rain’, when read out, creates an enchanting tone. Also, by making the sentence flow more smoothly, it gives an emphasis on the ‘irised rain’, rather than the word, ‘there’. Simultaneously, Hardy continues to use syntactic inversions in the poem. I think the strongest example would be the last line of the poem. In the phrase ‘and will laugh there nevermore’, the words ‘there’ and ‘nevermore’ are switched around to give an emphasis on the last word. Not only emphasising, but the last word of a poem is very significant. As he repeats the negative words ‘nor knows nor’ and ‘I not go’ near the end of the poem, I think the whole poem is centred on the word ‘nevermore’. Further evidence of that would be that the poem concludes on the death of his former wife. That is the main reason why he has placed the word ‘nevermore’ at the end of the poem.
Furthermore, I think highlights in the two poems are presented in a contrasting way. The expression, ‘gale of life’, in ‘On Wenlock Edge’, could be interpreted in a simpler way. The ‘gale of life’, could mean that the wind is blowing with such great force, that Housman feels as if it is almost alive. As there is evidence to how violently he thought the trees were shaken, I think he was just trying to emphasize the fact that it was a blustery day. He says ‘His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves’, meaning the trees are shaken so much in order to make the mountain look as if it is moving around. Not only that, but he also mentions that young trees are bent and that the wind would blow even through trees on a slope.
In ‘Beeny Cliff’, I think Hardy has a hidden meaning of the poem. As he describes how beautiful the view is, standing on ‘Beeny Cliff’, he continues extremely until it becomes almost surreal and the cliff is placed in a fairy story, with such attractive sea beneath. Evidence of this can be found throughout the poem, such as ‘opal … sapphire of that wandering western sea’ He compares the sea with jewels, as if the sea is sparkling, or even illuminating. Instead of an imaginary place in his thought, I think Hardy really is describing how wonderful and charming his wife was. Although neither of these poems have personal significance, they have had a strong impact. I think both poets express their feelings in a way that almost makes me feel sympathy towards them. I have identified the deep connection between the poets and the content of their poems, and I think that is the most significant part of poetry.