The Village: Book I
The poem focuses on the life of the poor living predominately in rural areas, in places where there are few to no opportunities. The peasants work tirelessly but it seems that nothing they do helps them escape from poverty. People who make a living out of writing stopped finding inspiration in the country and the subjects they choose no longer include pastoral life.
No longer focusing on nature is compares by the narrator with the idea of abandoning the truth, thus pointing out that for many, truth can only be found in nature. Those who live and work in the country no longer have access to this truth mainly because they are too busy with farming and taking care of their animals. Because of this, many of them became illiterate in time, not having time for ‘’syllables’’.
The narrator compares the farmer with the poet, in the sense they both have to make efforts to see the fruits of their labor. However, the narrator does agree that a farmer has to put a lot more effort into his work while the poem can simply find inspiration anywhere and from anything he encounters. He work done by the peasants stopped them from experiencing pleasure and this is presented as a negative consequence by the narrator. The reason why those people were no longer finding pleasure in poetry was because they lacked the necessary things in life to survive.
The land on which the farmers worked is described in a less than positive manner, as being harsh and reluctant to give the men what they truly need to survive. The battle between land and man is presented as being an epic journey done by Greek heroes, highlighting thus the problems many peasants had to face.
The weather turned against the farmers as well, making it almost impossible for them to profit from their work. Still, almost ironically, the farmers chose to stay on their lands, refusing the let the harsh conditions affect them. The farmers continued to work, even when their health was declining and they were putting their own life in danger through the hard work they were performing. Many farmers died alone, having no one to look after them.
The narrator ends the poem by claiming that even though many refuse to see peasants and people worth of respect, he thinks that they deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life, just like everybody else.
The poem begins with the description of a restless soul, in pain. The source of the pain remains unnamed but the narrator claims the pain is so great that the body in which the soul sits is affected as well. Every object which the soul encounters in the world reminds him about the pain he feels and so traveling is described as something painful for the soul.
The pain can be driven away by ‘’lively gales and gently clouded skies’’ or rather the presence of happy memories and experiences. Memories are presented as being one of the main sources for pain since it continues to make a person feel various emotions. Nothing can cure this type of sadness and Hope is described as being powerless when faced whit this type of pain.
The solution to this type of pain is reading, or rather ‘’BOOKS’’ which can teach a person how to escape from pain and how to find solutions to different problems once may face. Books are not biased and they offer the same type of knowledge to every person who wants to listen and to learn more.
Books are called children, created by those who wrote them and the result of a long and tedious process. Some books are compared with good and wise kings, having the ability to help people evolve while others are like blind and deaf men who lead others to their own ruin. Thus, the narrator transmits the idea that a reader must be careful about the literature he consumes, keeping in mind how some books may just do more harm than good and may mislead people and cause them pain. Good books are on the other hand like immortal gods, watching over the normal people and spreading their wisdom. They are compared with grand mausoleums, standing erect decade after decade, making the people looking at them feel insignificant and in need of guidance.