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Fern Hill By Dylan Thomas, summary and commentary.

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Fern Hill By Dylan Thomas Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green, The night above the dingle starry, Time let me hail and climb Golden in the heydays of his eyes, And honored among wagons I was prince of the apple towns And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves Trail with daisies and barley Down the rivers of the windfall light. And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home, In the sun that is young once only, Time let me play and be Golden in the mercy of his means, And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold, And the sabbath rang slowly In the pebbles of the holy streams. All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air And playing, lovely and watery And fire green as grass. And nightly under the simple stars As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away, All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the night-jars Flying with the ricks, and the horses Flashing into the dark. ...read more.


initiates into the world of maturity. ?Sleeping? in the poem is symbolic that refers to the loss of innocence that equates the Adam and Eve who had slept after fall from the Grace of God. This initiation of the world of maturity entails the loss of Edenic bliss, innocence, grace and freedom. Moreover poet loses creative imagination and fantasies in which a union with nature was possible. In the last stanza the poet once again contemplates on the memoirs of his childhood but this time the awareness, becomes dominant. In the last line the poet refers to his chained situation in the world of experience. Now he is in chain, green color is withered now. So, this poem is the journey from childhood to manhood when the manhood comes, the man suffers from agony. Now I am not what I was in the past. The use of verb ?song? hints that the losses can be captured through art in the last line stanza. Forms and Devices The poem is composed of six nine-line stanzas that rhyme (mostly with slant rhymes) abcddabcd. The lines have a very flexible accentual rhythm. Lines 1, 2, 6, and 7 have six accents each; lines 3, 4, 8, and 9 have three accents; and line 5 usually has four accents. ...read more.


The episode involves bird symbols as well, however, and these the reader may well interpret as symbols of poetry?swallows, the implied owls and nightjars from the earlier episode of literal sleep (lines 23-27), and the moon herself as mistress of the creative imagination (like the fairy queen, Titania, in Shakespeare?s A Midsummer Night?s Dream, c. 1595-1596). A child does not compose the songs of childhood. Only an adult can do so, for only the adult is thematically possessed of his own past history. Under the influence of the moon of imagination, the sea rises and falls; although a repressive king-figure (Father Time, the god Cronos, the Persian despot Xerxes, or the Danish King Canute of Britain) can attempt to chain the sea, he will not succeed. Hence, the perennial human symbol of expulsion from the limited Eden of newly created innocence also symbolizes the initiation into the more fully human and creative world of mature experience. When the sea ?sing[s] in its chains,? therefore, it does not sing only the green, white, and golden world of Fern Hill, it also sings the green and dying world of the mortal adult. Like a ritual incantation, the poem ?Fern Hill? re-creates for the reader the Eden of boyhood, its loss, and its retrieval. Whenever the poem is read and for as long as it takes to read it, the paradise of Fern Hill exists again, is lost again, and is regained. ...read more.

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