Hardy’s Christmas poem ‘The Oxen’ refers to an old yuletide folk legend that Hardy knew as a child. The descendants of the oxen who had witnessed the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem had been believed to still kneel to commemorate Jesus’ start each Christmas poems 2016 Eve in the dark, similar to their ancestors had performed on the time.
The rich brilliant imagery of the poem as an entire is atmospheric. It opens with a simple announcement that sets the yule scene thoroughly: ‘Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock’. Most people have a experience of what midnight on Christmas Eve approach to them. Very likely the paranormal youth marvel of Christmas, or certainly the warm cheeriness and goodwill to all men yule feeling is referred to as up with the aid of this powerful statement.
In addition to Christmas Eve being a first-rate feature in the poem, the phrases ’embers in fireside ease’ makes one believe the warmth and that the ‘flock’ had been huddling there all nighttime. One additionally thinks of the children imagining the oxen with childlike innocence. In one’s thoughts’s ear the elder may be heard pronouncing “Now they’re all on their knees”. And of route the effective metaphoric personification of the oxen conjures up images of them kneeling on Christmas Eve before the baby Jesus in his manger.
However half way via the poem doubt is called into the belief about the Oxen kneeling. It jumps in advance a few years inside the third verse where the cynicism of conflict is added in with the metaphoric announcement “So fair a flowery few would weave in these years!” The Christmas Oxen Legend became through then commonly seen as a tall tale. People had come to be racked via cynicism through the horror of world conflict I which changed into in full swing at the time of the poem’s guide in 1915.
The cute soft alliteration ‘meek moderate’ in the 2d verse is hereby contrasted with that of ‘truthful a elaborate few’, ‘f’ for ‘father’ presenting a more cynical part than that of ‘m’ for mother. And the personification ‘Our formative years used to know’ pointers that those days should were well and simply over: it wasn’t even the human beings themselves that ‘used to recognize’, best their early life.
Some critics say this poem ends on a dismal notice, and the warm temperature of the hearth and formative years innocence within the first 1/2 is indeed contrasted with warfare and the bloodless ‘lonely’ ‘gloom’ of the outdoor inside the second half. However to me it retains the magic of Christmas universal. Use of enjambment, especially between the final two verses, subtly will increase the reader’s suspense till the stop of the poem where it states: ‘I must go along with him in the gloom, Hoping it is probably so.’ A loss is hereby being mourned but there’s nonetheless hope, and consequently Christmas cheer! This sort of hope in the face of conflict strikes a chord in my memory of the Christmas truce when soldiers mingled peacefully in no-man’s land alongside the Western front on Christmas Day in 1914.