Thomas Hardy "In Time of the Breaking of Nations" & "Going and Staying" (Both are available at

Essay by xxnancyxxnancyxx June 2005

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The title of the first poem leads the reader to believe that the poem has some political meaning in its body. Oddly "In Time of the Breaking of Nations" has the opposite; it has the disregard of political affairs. In Thomas Hardy's era, the American Revolution occurred which most likely gave him the name of the poem "In Time of the Breaking of Nations," but the mood directly gave the impression that life will go on regardless of international battles. Instead of paying attention to the revolution, Hardy expresses that the war deserved no special attention.

In "Going and Staying," Hardy expresses a lighter, romantic side. Unlike his apathetic disposition in the former poem, he shows a carefree and appreciative side to life. He seems to value life on a much more deeper side, praising nature's beauty and wonders. In the poem, he emphasizes the cycles of nature and of life, which defend his views in "In Time of the Breaking of Nations" of life's continuation.

Hardy has a very different style in both of the poems and speaks about very different subjects, but with both poems, he has the common link of the flow of life. In the first poem, he says that life will flow without taking anything into account, even a war between two countries. In the second poem, he goes on to describe the beauty of life's flow. The flow of his poetry is the only logical connection between both of the poems. Without it, the reader would not understand his purpose in writing his poetry and be absolutely clueless about his entire message with both of the poems.