The Darkling Thrush
(4) Base Camp
Technically speaking, "The Darkling Thrush" isn't too challenging. Hardy relies on dense imagery and occasional metaphoric language to drive his gloomy-with-a-tiny-bit-of-happy-at-the-end message home. Sure, it helps to know that he's writing this as the century is ending, but we can still get the picture even without that juicy little piece of contextual info.