In this piece, mood is used to develop greater intensity and complexity through its establishment and subsequent shifts in character. The author uses carefully chosen words and phrases in both the creation of the desired sentiment and in the introduction of modifications in its nature. The mood changes several times throughout the poem, and each variation is skillfully planned and implemented through the use of imagery and diction. The composition begins in a soft and soothing mood with the use of words like calm, placid, serene, and sweet.
Imagery of this same nature is exemplified in phrases regarding heaven, summer, and “soft and golden light” in the second and third stanzas, and again in the fifth stanza with “sunset soft and moonlight mild. ” This smooth and mellow ambiance is also established by the use of alliteration in the first stanza with the words “day’s decline,” and again in the third stanza with the phrases “breezeless boughs” and “bird’s belated. ” A shift in the mood of the poem occurs in the third stanza, along with a change in the lighting; as dusk falls, the mood of the poem becomes more somber, but is still soothing and mellow.
This more depressed feel is created through the author’s use of words like gloom, silent, and breezeless. These terms invoke images of loneliness and emptiness and thus successfully establish a more melancholy sentiment. However, towards the end of this third stanza the mood is again uplifted with the imagery describing a “soft and golden light” and “unclouded sky,” which continues throughout the fourth stanza until it is abruptly shifted again with the use of an exclamation point at the end of the last line.
This punctuation creates a break in the smoothness of the piece, and allows for the introduction of a more passionate and distressed tone in the beginning of the following stanza. Word choice and description again play an integral role in the development of such a mood, and words like longing and pain invoke thoughts of anguish and unrequited emotion until the originally calm mood is more or less restored in the last six lines. In the sixth stanza, a more intense and anguished mood is again created through the use of diction like strong, rapture, throb, and through imagery like “transient flower” and “death’s congealing power.
” The pinnacle of intensity and urgency is reached in the final stanza, its establishment solidified with phrases including “dying hour,” “life’s expiring breath,” and “forehead cold in death. ” However, the preceding soft and tranquil mood is abruptly established once again in the last four lines with the use of the expressions “sound my sleep,” “heart should beat,” and “one pulse. ” Diction also plays a role in the recreation of this tone, as the words sweet and true also add to its restoration. This final shift in mood brings the piece back to its original quality and feeling, which provides it with a continuous flow and constant nature.