Study Guide

Acquainted with the Night Man and the Natural World

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Man and the Natural World

I have been one acquainted with the night (1 and 14)

This line personifies an element of the natural world. Though acquainted can be used with objects, not just humans, it's more common to refer to being acquainted to a person than a time of day. So, in this lonely poem, we see that the speaker places emphasis on his connection, however ambivalent, with the night and the natural world.

I have walked out in rain – and back in rain (2)

Here, the natural world is not being very kind to our speaker. We deal with a negative aspect of nature, the rain. Yet the speaker doesn't seem to be afraid of the rain. It's just another thing he deals with in the course of the night.

I have outwalked the farthest city light (3)

This line starts to show the contrast between man and the natural world. The speaker has walked past the farthest city light and beyond the reaches of man, into the depths of nature and night.

I have looked down the saddest city lane (4)

Now instead of personifying an element of the natural world, the speaker is personifying something that is man-made. The mood of the night is so sad that even the city streets seem sad – does the speaker think that nature is sad also?

And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky (11-12)

This poem deals with the natural world…and the natural universe. Yet calling the moon a "luminary clock" shows that, while the speaker is probably looking at the sky, he has city images and terminology in his head. Does the speaker think the sky and the moon are beautiful even though, as we find out in the last stanza, the time that the moon proclaims is neither wrong nor right?

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