The ethos of Thomas Hardy’s elegiac style of poetry is apparent. This elegiac style of poetry can also be found in Housman’s and Thomas’ work also. Yet, there is a difference between each of these poets’ melancholy. Looking at only Hardy and Houseman’s work, the difference becomes apparent.
When one analyzes Hardy’s poem, and takes a closer look at his elegiac work, one will notice that his despair has a specific character to it. Hardy’s specific elegiac content deals with wishing gloominess upon him so that the rest of his unhappiness will be balanced. One example comes from his 1898 poem “Hap.” Picking out specific examples, the poem states that “If but some vengeful god would call to me…’Thou suffering thin, know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy’…Then would I bear it” but then the poem goes on to say, “But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain.” It can be seen above that Hardy is wishing for doom and gloom so that his suffering will have meaning, but that is not the case. Whatever joy remains in him is what brings him the most pain.
In Housman’s poetry, there is also an elegiac nature to it, but it too differs from other poets, including Hardy. Housman’s gloom comes from the passing of time and age. This can be observed by looking at the second stanza of Housman’s “Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now.” “Now, of my threescore years and ten, Twenty will not come again, And take from seventy springs a score, It only leaves me fifty more.” It can be seen above that the poem reaches it’s climatic melancholy when it begins to speak about the passing of time. This can be seen in most of Housman’s poetry.