1. Explain how the poem touches upon each of the seasons without the negative attitude towards winter found in other Hardy poems.

2. Hardy was both a prolific poet and commercially successful novelist: however, how does he wish his neighbours to remember him?

3. Bailey notes that "Each stanza ends with a statement almost in prose" (428): why does Hardy descend thus from the poetic to the colloquial in every fourth line?

4. Explain the dramatic irony in the third stanza.

5. Why does Hardy at the beginning shift abruptly from an historical and architectural image to one suggestive of a young bird's emerging from its egg or nest?

6. What role does the supernatural play in this otherwise natural poem?

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Last modified 29 July 2004