The Voice

The Voice

by Thomas Hardy

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!

Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?

Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.

Summary of The Voice

  • Popularity of “The Voice”: Thomas Hardy, a great English novelist, and poet wrote, “The Voice”. It was first published in 1982. The poem comprises the emotions and feelings of the poet for his deceased wife. It also illustrates the beauty of spiritual love and paints a vivid picture of his eternal love that keeps him attached with his mistress even after her demise.
  • “The Voice” As a Representative of Love: The poem is written from the perspective of a lover whose beloved has left this transient world, but he still feels her presence. Throughout the poem, he explains his intense feelings for the woman, how much he misses her and how her voice approaches him. Unsure about the voice, he questions what he hears. He thinks it may just be the wind that whistles around and not the lady he admires. Thus, he moves ahead, leaving the voice behind, but the woman is present because she resides in his soul. Hence, she can never depart.
  • Major Themes in “The Voice”: Love, grief, and memories are the major themes found in the poem. The sad speaker laments over the loss of his beloved. His love for her is pure and everlasting, and he feels her presence all around. In fact, the grief seems to have to cause some psychological issue as he hears her voice and then doubts that it could be her. It is because they have loved each other and lived with each other for so long that she seems a part of him. Although she is no more, yet he feels his voice around. The poem is primarily concerned with the pure love of the speaker which is not limited to physical attraction and rests in the soul.

Analysis of Literary Devices in “The Voice”

Literary devices are tools the writers use to create meanings in their texts to enhance the poems or stories and connect the readers with the real message of the text. Hardy has also made this poem superb by using these literary devices. Here is the analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem.

  1. Paradox: A paradox is a statement that may seem contradictory but yet can be true, or at least makes sense. For example, Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then.” There is a contradiction in hearing and viewing for he cannot see the voice.
  2. Symbolism: Symbolism is the use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings that are different from their literal meanings. “The breeze”, “the voice”, “the call” and “the day” are the symbols of his lost love.
  3. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /f/ in “Thus I; faltering forward” and the sounds of /f/ and /th/ in “Wind oozing thin through the thorn from forward.”
  4. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things with their five senses. For example, “Even to the original air-blue gown”, “Travelling across the wet mead to me here” and “Leaves around me falling.”
  5. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /u/ in “Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then”.
  6. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought or clause that does not come to an end at a line break instead moves over the next line. For example,

“Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,”

  1. Rhetorical Question: It is a question that does not need an answer. Writers use these questions merely to stress upon the idea and then respond themselves such as “Can it be you that I hear?”

The analysis shows the excessive use of literary devices has made this text highly creative and credible. The effectiveness of the text speaks about the appropriate use of these devices.

 Analysis of Poetic Devices in “The Voice”

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. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are four stanzas in this poem with each stanza comprising four lines.
  2. Quatrain: Quatrain is a four-lined stanza borrowed from Persian poetry. There are four quatrains in this poem.
  3. Rhyme Scheme: The rhyme scheme followed by the entire poem is ABAB.
  4. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious such as, “town/gown”, falling/calling” and “listlessness/wistlessness”.

 Quotes to be Used

 The lines stated below can be used when discussing any personal experience. The words like, “can it be you”, and “you would wait for me” indicate the intense sorrow one feels after losing someone.

“Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!”

 

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