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Tone in Loveliest of Trees

Hopeful: The speaker employs a contemplative yet hopeful tone. Even though he ponders death, he ultimately concludes that the beauty of life can be appreciated at all times. He emphasizes the importance of possessing gratitude since life is so short.

Tone Examples in Loveliest of Trees:

Text of the Poem

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"stands..."   (Text of the Poem)

In contrast with the passive structure in the previous line, this is an example of active phrasing. The speaker indicates that the cherry trees stand on either side of the path. While subtle, this grammatical shift helps convey the strong presence of these trees in the woodland area and the visual power of their blooms in the eyes of the speaker. Additionally, active phrasing helps convey a kind of intensity or agency, and we’ll shortly see how these cherry blossoms affect the speaker’s views on how to live his life.

"Is hung..."   (Text of the Poem)

By saying that “the cherry now / Is hung,” Housman’s speaker employs what’s known as a passive construction. Such constructions focus on what happens to an object rather than the subject performing the object. However, there is still a suggestion that someone or something performs this “hanging of blooms” since the verb “to hang” connotes an idea of decoration. This conveys a somewhat festive tone, as if the speaker is participating in a ceremony.

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