• Annotated Full Text
  • Literary Period: Victorian
  • Publication Date: 1898
  • Flesch-Kincaid Level: 7
Poetry

Neutral Tones

Victorian poet and novelist Thomas Hardy wrote “Neutral Tones” in 1867, though the poem was not published until 1898. In it, the speaker reflects on a failed romance with a lover who had become indifferent to their relationship. Hardy wields bleak language in stark lines of tetrameter that convey the impoverished state of the speaker’s heart. Ultimately, the speaker’s heartbreak, with its “keen lessons that love deceives,” is inextricable from a sense of indignation.

  • Annotated Full Text
  • Literary Period: Victorian
  • Publication Date: 1898
  • Flesch-Kincaid Level: 7