Analysis of Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

Fern Hill By Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
     The night above the dingle starry,
          Time let me hail and climb
     Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honored among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
          Trail with daisies and barley
     Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
     In the sun that is young once only,
          Time let me play and be 
     Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
          And the sabbath rang slowly
     In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
     And playing, lovely and watery
          And fire green as grass.
     And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
     Flying with the ricks, and the horses
          Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
     Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
          The sky gathered again
     And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
     Out of the whinnying green stable
          On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
     In the sun born over and over,
          I ran my heedless ways,
     My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
     Before the children green and golden
          Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
     In the moon that is always rising,
          Nor that riding to sleep
     I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
          Time held me green and dying
     Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
(Copy From https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/fern-hill)

This is an analysis of Dylan Thomas’ Poems “Fern Hill". Overview of “Fern Hill” Winter is sometimes associated with death and the poem “Fern Hill” takes place in the fall, which is just before winter. This reminds us of the theme of impending death. Shakespeare believed that each day we live is one step closer to death, which is also the message of “Fern Hill.”

analysis of fern hill by dylan thomas


The first stanza of “Fern Hill” describes the speaker playing as a child who is green (a color often associated with youth”) and unaware of the passage of time. It is fall, which forecasts eventual death (or the winter of life). There is also the personification of time as a man.In the second stanza, there are beautiful images of nature and unawareness of the passage of time as gold (associated with aging) being juxtaposed with green, symbolizing youth. The third stanza also foreshadows death as the child rides through life as he ages. The lightening or life will eventually disappear or life will go out. We see the passage of time throughout this stanza as well. In the fourth stanza, he mentions Adam and Eve, which, of course, foreshadows death. The passage of time continues. In the fifth stanza, the sun is being born over and over representing the passage of time and cycles of life. The boy is carefree and unaware of his own eventual death. The images of green and gold show that the young replace the old. “Out of grace” is another reference to Adam and Eve and the fall of humanity, which led to all of us have to die. The moon rising instead of the sun shows the passage of time as the boy ages like the day becoming closer tonight or death. The lines “Time held me green and dying/ Though I sang in my chains like the sea” are very famous lines that the boy (and eventual man) was dying each day he lived his life but was blissfully unaware as he was busy living his life. He sings like the sea, which is timeless, but he is not, as all humans are mortal. The first six lines of “Fern Hill” praise life at Fern Hill as a child, and the last six lines lament life because the speaker is older now and realizes that throughout his childhood he was actually dying but was blissfully unaware of his mortality.

The message of this poem is very ironic. It is ironic that we are unaware of our mortality and take it for granted until we are older and close to death and then we become more aware of our mortality and the shortness of life when it is too late to take advantage of every moment of life
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