Thomas Hardy, An August Midnight

This poem appears to me almost Gothic in nature, especially when read out loud. The scene is set in the opening lines, “A shaded lamp and a waving blind/ and the beat of a clock from a distant floor.” Once the scene is set then creatures enter, “winged, horned, and spined/ A longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore.” The speaker pauses his work and examines the fly that “rubs his hands” and considers, the almost absurdity, of the five of them meeting “in this still place.” Instead of considering them pests, Hardy treats them with great reverence, perhaps even as equals since he refers to them as “my guests.” In the end, Hardy goes as far as to mock people who consider them “God’s humblest.” He explains his reverence for them in the last line: “they know Earth – secrets that know not I.”

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