1. Why is the fourth line of each stanza indented?

2. For what is ash with its gray leaves an objective correlative?

3. In what two times is the poem set?

4. Why is the simile "like an ominous bird a-wing" particularly effective?

5. What are the connotations of "chidden of God" (line 2) and "God-curst sun" (line 15)?

6. An interesting aspect of Hardy's poetic style is his deliberate use of archaisms: identify several in this poem, and explain their effect.

7. Explain the nature of the paradox in lines 9 and 10.

8. Explain how the starving sod and the gray leaves establish a suitable psychological backdrop for the poem.

9. Why has the poet chosen alternating rhyme for this lyric?

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Last modified 29 July 2004