At Twilight

Theodore Gericault’s, Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct, carries a nostalgia that seems similar to me in Lines Written Near Richmond, upon the Thames, at Evening.

In the poem it is sunset “evening-twilight’s summer hues” (l.3) as a poet or “youthful bard” is admiring a boat passing by. The speaker states “The boat her silent path pursues!/ And see how dark the backward stream!/ a little moment past, so smiling!/” (l.4-6) meaning that at this time you can see the dark backward stream yet the moment is smiling and so perfect and little does the dark seem to matter in the twilight. This is what “allures” the poet to be an on-looker of the Thames and the boat. Yet the poem turns nostalgic and pessimistic even when is stated “He deems their colours shall endure/ ‘till peace go with him to the tomb./ -and let him nurse his fond deceit” (l.11). The poet goes on with stating that we cannot blame the poet for his admiration of the scene because “who would not cherish dreams so sweet, Though grief and pain may come to-morrow?” (l.12-13). The poem concludes in a plea almost of “Oh! glide, fair stream! for ever so” (l.21) so that others may find that same deceit the poet has found there at twilight.

The painting I think has captured that “deceit”. The beauty of sunset and the summer hues spoken of in “Lines Written Near Richmond, Upon the Thames, at Evening” are visible in the warm tones to be found in the left of the painting. It has frozen that twilight hour for the on looker so that we might all feel like the “allured” “youthful bard” from the poem. It creates a glow to the water in the image and there appears to be people playing in the water as if a moment of peace has been found in nature. It is necessary to note the castle in the image is in the light, yet toward the back, in the depth created in the landscape, we can see the dark clouds looming. It is similar to “the following gloom” spoken of that impends sorrow in “Lines Written Near Richmond Upon the Thames, at Evening”.

-Araceli Garcia Munoz

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