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The poem “I remember, I remember” was written by Thomas Hood in 1844 a year before his death in 1845. The poem was later included in The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood (1903) by William Michael Rossetti, one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The poem was published in 1904 in the children’s collection, Poems That Every Child Should Know. The poem describes the childhood memories of the poet Thomas Hood. The main themes behind the poem are childhood, innocence, nostalgia and nature.
About the Poet:
Thomas Hood was an English poet, author and humorist. Hood was the father of the playwright and humorist Tom Hood and the children’s writer Frances Freeling Broderip. Some of his best known poems are “The Bridge of Sighs” and “The Song of the Shirt“. Hood wrote regularly for The London Magazine, Athenaeum, and Punch. Later in life he published a magazine largely consisting of his own works. In 1903 William Michael Rossetti called him “the finest English poet” between the generations of Shelley and Tennyson.
The poem “I remember, I remember” by Thomas Hood is a lyric. The poem consists of 32 lines in total. The poet Hood has divided the poem into four stanzas. Each stanza consists of 8 lines. The stanza could further be divided into two quatrains. Using quatrain the poet draws the difference between his childhood life and adulthood life
The poet Thomas Hood has composed the poem “I remember, I remember” using iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter alternatively. So, each section begins with a line consisting of eight syllables that is followed by a line with six syllables.
Speaker of the Poem:
The poet himself is the speaker of the poem. He is discussing his childhood memories in this poem. The poem is written from a first person point of view. It is evident from the usage of the pronoun “I”.
I remember, I remember, The house where I was born, The little window where the sun Came peeping in at morn; He never came a wink too soon, Nor brought too long a day, But now, I often wish the night Had borne my breath away!
In the first stanza the speaker describes his home and its bedroom window. The morning sun used to peep in through this window every morning. The speaker (Hood) remembers this sight from his childhood days spent at home. He says that the sun was never late to visit him each morning. Here, “the sun” is personified as someone who is visiting the speaker each morning. In the last few lines of the stanza the speaker says that he wish to not see the sun. From this the readers can get to know that the speaker is waiting for his death..
I remember, I remember, The roses, red and white, The vi'lets, and the lily-cups, Those flowers made of light! The lilacs where the robin built, And where my brother set The laburnum on his birthday,— The tree is living yet!
In the second stanza, the speaker describes the varieties of flowers he had at his home during his young days. They included violets, lily-cups, roses both white and red and lilacs. He says that these flowers made his home the most beautiful place. The speaker recalls the laburnum tree, planted on his birthday by his brother Robin. He says that the tree is still alive and he feels happy about it.
I remember, I remember, Where I was used to swing, And thought the air must rush as fresh To swallows on the wing; My spirit flew in feathers then, That is so heavy now, And summer pools could hardly cool The fever on my brow!
The speaker repeated the first line. He recalls all the memories connected with the tree. He talks about the old days spent on the swing breathing the fresh air. The memories make him happy. He could feel that his spirit enjoyed those moments.But the days have passed, everything has changed, so all the things that made him happy in his young days have turned into heavy. He feels that nothing can change his present state of mind.
I remember, I remember, The fir trees dark and high; I used to think their slender tops Were close against the sky: It was a childish ignorance, But now 'tis little joy To know I'm farther off from heav'n Than when I was a boy.
In the last stanza the speaker talks about the dark tall fig tree.During his young days he believed that the tree touched the sky. Now he knows the reality of life so he started missing his innocence. He believes that a child is closer to God and when the child grows the distance increases between them. The speaker feels sad as he feels that he is living further away from heaven.