Thomas Hardy, The Self-Unseeing

The first stanza of this poem sets the scene by introducing “the ancient floor” that is “hollowed and thin.” The second stanza introduces two characters, a female and a male, who are presented in the third person. The woman sits in her chair while the man stands still. Both appear separated from the narrator who speaks in first-person, in the final stanza. Perhaps the separation is an indication that they are not real, either far away or dead altogether. The line that is particularly indicative of this separation is “Childlike, I danced in a dream.”

Thomas Hardy, Friends Beyond

This poem is something of a eulogy to Hardy’s dead friends. The speaker refers to them as “group of local hearts and heads.” Both of these are great synechdoches, parts that stand in for a whole. Thus “group of local hearts” refers to his friends’ inner beings and “heads” refers to his friends’ intelligence and intellectual capabilities. The speaker is in a way having a conversation with distant friends and when they speak they share the freedom they now feel. In particular, “death gave all that we possess.” This line can be interpreted to mean that they no longer fear death.