by Thomas Hardy

Speaker Point of View

Who is the speaker, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

The speaker of "Afterwards" is an older man – someone who feels that his own death is near at hand. Makes sense – after all, Hardy wrote it when he was 77 years old. Hardy has a reputation for being dark and melancholy, but even though this is a poem about death, it's surprisingly un-depressing. The tone of the poem is more wistful than bitter: the speaker wants to be remembered, but is afraid that he'll be forgotten entirely. More specifically, he wants to be remembered as someone sensitive to the subtle beauties in nature.

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