Knowledge: Identify the rhyme scheme that Hardy has employed.

Application: Identify an example of animism in the third stanza, and then explain its effect.

Application: Identify two examples of alliteration, and speculate as to why the poet is using this device.

Analysis: How do the structure and style of the poem reinforce the narrator's former optimism and present pessimism?

Analysis: Outline how the narrative voice (persona) moves backwards and forwards, between past and present, and discuss how his mood changes as the poem progresses.

Synthesis: Write a letter from one of those who has left the Dorset countryside for the "urban roar" in order to reveal the differences in quality of life between an industrial English city and a country village.

Questions from Previous Years

1. To what extent is the poem about the social changes brought about by nineteenth-century urbanization?

2. What clues are we given about the four characters in the poem?

3. Why does the poet use a periphrasis about death ("shut her eyes for ever more")?

4. What does the picnic represent for the speaker?

Related Material

Entered the Victorian Web 18 December 2001; last modified 9 June 2014