Signed handwritten draft of "The Darkling Thrush" with original title
Signed handwritten draft of "The Darkling Thrush" with original title

"The Darkling Thrush" is a poem by Thomas Hardy. Originally titled "By the Century's Deathbed", it was first published on 29 December 1900 in The Graphic.[1] The poem was later published in London Times on 1 January, 1901.[2] A deleted '1899' on the poem's manuscript suggests that it may have been written in that year.[3] It was later included in a collection entitled Poems of the Past and the Present (1901).


The first -DG- stanzas open with a description of the dreary, bleak winter landscape, but the melancholy tone is transformed by the bright, optimistic singing of "an aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small." In the end, the speaker concludes, on a pessimistic note, that the small bird possesses "some blessed Hope, whereof he knew and I was unaware." The use of the word "darkling" recalls the same word in Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach (1867), a poem about loss of faith.[4]


  1. ^ Filner, Rebecca (7 October 2010). ""... Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew / And I was unaware."". The Morgan Library & Museum. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  2. ^ "The Darkling Thrush". 27 March 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  3. ^ Rumens, Carol (28 December 2009). "Poem of the week: The Darkling Thrush, by Thomas Hardy". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  4. ^ Stokes, Richard. The Penguin Book of English Song (2016), p 597.

Wikisource has original text related to this article: The Darkling Thrush