The Villain

The Villain

By William Henry Davies

While joy gave clouds the light of stars,
That beamed wher’er they looked;
And calves and lambs had tottering knees,
Excited, while they sucked;
While every bird enjoyed his song,
Without one thought of harm or wrong–
I turned my head and saw the wind,
Not far from where I stood,
Dragging the corn by her golden hair,
Into a dark and lonely wood.

Summary of The Villain

  • Popularity of “The Villain”: This ten verses poem ‘The Villain’ was written by William Henry Davies, a Welsh hobo writer and poet. It first appeared in 1920. The poem is popular because of its straightforward portrayal of nature’s elements and their contribution to life on Earth, with the exception of the wind’s personified defiance.
  • “The Villain” As a Representative of Nature: The poem opens with the poet talking about the excitement and happiness that comes to natural elements when everything is all right. The poet says that joy or excitement blesses the clouds with the light that comes from the stars. Then the clouds look upon the earth and see the lambs and calves tottering on their knees excitedly sucking their mothers’ milk. This natural scene leads to the birth of another scene, filled with the song of a joyous bird. The poet, however, observes that only the wind is playing the part of a spoiler and it is moving the corn as if it is dragging it, catching it by its golden hair. It is clear here that despite the positive influence of natural things on the atmosphere, the presence of one element can undo all of it.
  • Major Themes in “The Villain”: Nature, love of nature, and pleasant atmosphere are the major thematic strands of this poem. The poem is interesting in that every other natural element is contributing to the happiness of others. If the clouds are happy, so are the stars, as they are making the lambs and calves happy. The atmosphere is full of joy until something unpleasant spoils it. Here, the only villain is the wind that tries to mar the happiness of all others just by dragging the golden hair of the corn plant. The entire message is that just a bad egg makes the entire company feel bad taste.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in The Villain

literary devices are imperative tools in the realm of poetry or prose, creating a captivating and universal appeal. The analysis of these devices in the poem is as follows.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /a/ in “And calves and lambs had tottering knees”.
  2. Alliteration: It is the use of successive consonant sounds in the initials of the successive words such as the sound of /f/ in “far from”.
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /l/ and /s/ in “And calves and lambs had tottering knees” and the sound of /r/ in “While every bird enjoyed his song”.
  4. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “And calves and lambs had tottering knees”, “While every bird enjoyed his song” and “I turned my head and saw the wind”.
  5. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different. The poem shows the use of joy as compared to a man; the wind compared to a villain. Both are unique metaphors used in this poem.
  6. Personification: The poet has used joy and wind as if they have life and emotions of their own. They are personified.
  7. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from literal meanings. Here, corn and golden hair are symbols of life and happiness.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in The Villain

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABABCCABAB rhyme scheme in both of its parts.
  2. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. This poem has two stanzas, as it is a sonnet.

Quotes to be Used

 These lines from “The Villain” are relevant to use when talking about conservation and climate change.

While every bird enjoyed his song,
Without one thought of harm or wrong–
I turned my head and saw the wind,
Not far from where I stood