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I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood

“I Remember, I Remember” by Thomas Hood was published in William Michael Rossetti’s The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood (1903). This poem is devoted to the sentimental romanticizing of the memories of childhood. It is perhaps one of the finest poems there is about revisiting and “remembering” the nostalgic and carefree world of early childhood. In this poem, Hood aims to capture an essential portion of life that he believes is filled with enormous bliss and serene timelessness. He also attempts to portray his recollection of the past with some tasteful imagery. This helps him to paint the otherwise mundane poem with a refined and glimmering sense of happiness as well as yearning.

Apart from being filled with an idealization of childhood, the poem is tightly wrapped in the concrete realization that this phrase of life must also come to a saddening end. This idea makes the poem a whole lot more substantial. Therefore, this account of the origins and subsequent evolution of the unique human being that brims with compassion perfectly fits the early notions of romanticism. The poem’s address of the gloomy and uncertain adulthood in the light of a perfect childhood also makes the narrative universal.

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I Remember, I Remember
by Thomas Hood

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!

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!

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!

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.

- from The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood (1903)
Analysis of I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood


Summary

“I Remember, I Remember” makes up for one of the few poems by Thomas Hood that are still read and remembered by people all around the world. Although a contemporary of John Keats, Hood is not so famous a figure in the history of English poetry. It is indeed his remarkable representation of the themes of childhood and nostalgia in this poem that gives his voice an edge in the poetry circuit. It is Hood’s ideas, expressions, and straightforward language that help his readers understand the concept of his poetry much better. The subtleties and swiftly flowing verse taken up by the poet-speaker also communicate his ideologies, emotions, and understanding of the subject better. It informs readers of the depth, tenderness, and intricacies that become a part of every human life.

The first stanza of the poem acts as a formal introduction—not just to the central ideas and themes of the poem, but also to the poet himself. This is because, at the very beginning, Hood introduces readers to his persona by referring to himself as “I” in the first-person point of view. This gives the poem a personal and more honest touch. He then goes ahead to address the fact that he “remembers” the untroubled childhood that he lived before growing up. In doing so, the poet opens a window for readers to look right beyond the formal and strategically constructed poetic framework of his verse. In a sense, he offers his own delicately weaved world to the audience, for them to analyze it in greater and impartial detail. It is this very idea of recollecting the past that is reinforced in every stanza. 

In this closely held series of unique memory snapshots, the poet reimagines his childhood and momentarily contrasts each experience with his current and ever-changing adulthood. He unpacks two such sequences that stand on almost opposite ends of a continuum and examines the simplicity and innocence that forms the basis of childhood. He puts this against the gradual loss, decline, and disappearance of virtues as a result of growing up. This fear of losing the child-like innocence and other characteristics makes up for the poet’s concern with the concept of maturity. He believes that in the early years of life humans are more connected to God, i.e., closer to heaven. It even draws on how the constant presence of nature—in the form of the sun, flowers, and fir trees—acts as a source of contentment and pleasure.

Structure, Rhyme Scheme, & Meter

Structure & Form

Hood’s “I Remember, I Remember” is a passionate, reflective, and thoughtful lyric. This poem is essentially dedicated to the fond memories that Hood experienced as a child. The text consists of a total of 32 lines, which are carefully broken down or divided into four stanzas. Each stanza is made up of 8 lines that could further be divided into two quatrains. The scheme complements the poem’s consistent thematic flow. This quatrain sequence established in each stanza acts as a reference point for Hood. Using this, he is able to draw contrasts between his current adult self and his former childhood self.

Written in the first-person narration technique, the poem unfolds how deeply the poet feels about the pleasures of his childhood days. Hood’s use of the subjective point of view is evident from the very beginning of the poem. The use of the capital “I” in the title, which is used as a refrain throughout, explains that the poem is going to contain some of the speaker’s own experiences and thoughts concerning the subject matter of remembrance. It gives the poem a stirring emotional touch. This also reflects how closely attached the speaker is to the subject.

In addition to this, the use of the refrain “I remember, I remember” binds the poet’s thoughts together and brings a sense of unity. This rhythmic repetition also helps in making the poem more memorable by attracting the attention of readers. By doing so, the poet also puts emphasis on the act of remembering. It shows how much he yearns for recapturing his younger years. This brings the main theme closer to the center.

Rhyme Scheme

The rhyme scheme employed by Hood makes the poem both unique and steady. The first line of each stanza remains the same, following which the second and fourth; sixth and eighth lines of each stanza rhyme. This maintains a similar rhythmic pattern across the text. The rhyme scheme followed in each quatrain (unit of four lines) is ABCB, which is commonly used in ballads. For instance, in the first stanza “born” (line 2) rhymes with “morn” (line 4); “day” (line 6) rhymes with “away” (line 8). By using this consistent rhyming, Hood makes sure that the tone remains cheerful, natural, and inspiring. This technique keeps the audience hooked and allows them to indulge in their childhood nostalgia.

Meter

Hood employs the same rhyme scheme (ABCB)  and the metrical pattern typically used in ballads in “I Remember, I Remember.” The poem is composed of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter alternatively. It means each section begins with a line consisting of eight syllables followed by a line with six syllables. An unstressed-stressed pattern, which is the sound scheme of an iamb or iambic foot, is used in the poem. There are no such variations. Refer to the scansion of the first stanza below:

I re/-mem-ber,/ I re/-mem-ber,

The house/ where I/ was born,

The lit/-tle win/-dow where/ the sun

Came peep/-ing in/ at morn;

He ne/-ver came/ a wink/ too soon,

Nor brought/ too long/ a day,

But now,/ I of/-ten wish/ the night

Had borne/ my breath/ a-way!


Poetic Devices & Figurative Language

In “I Remember, I Remember,” Hood employs the following poetic devices to add more meaning, appeal, and significance to the text. These techniques are essential to the themes embedded in the poem.

Personification

In poetry, personification is referred to as a figure of speech in which a thing, idea, or expression is given human characteristics and/or emotions, or is discussed as if it were a person. In Hood’s “I Remember, I Remember,” the use of this poetic device is very prominent. In the first stanza itself, the speaker mentions:

The little window where the sun

Came peeping in at morn;

He never came a wink too soon,

Nor brought too long a day,

Here, the sun is given human attributes to ensure that these lines form a lasting picture in readers’ minds. The “peeping” originally refers to the sun’s gentle rays falling inside the speaker’s room in the morning. “He,” the sun is described as a character that the speaker remembers far too well from his childhood. According to him, the sun never showed a minute too early or shone for more than the required hours. Therefore, the sun is shown as a balanced, caring, and polite person, someone who is careful enough to follow a decent routine. These amicable qualities of the sun highlight the bright and glowing atmosphere of the speaker’s childhood. In contrast to this, the poet notes:

But now, I often wish the night

Had borne my breath away!

The “night” is personified in these lines as if it is capable of taking the speaker’s breath away.

Imagery

Imagery stimulates one or more than one of the five senses to elicit a cascade of graphic illustrations. This task is usually achieved by employing descriptive or creative vocabulary while describing different things, activities, or notions. In this poem, Hood makes use of extensive imagery to appeal to readers’ emotions. While traversing through the poem, they come across the image of the speaker’s “house”:

The house where I was born,

The little window where the sun

Came peeping in at morn;

The house works as a strengthening visual of the speaker’s childhood. This image when placed in the context of childhood memories proves to be very comforting. It effortlessly manages to create a place in the reader’s heart. The line, “The house where I was born” genuinely allures the senses and can transport the reader to a place situated in the speaker’s past.

Another image that reflects heavily in the poem is that of the “fir trees” standing “dark and high” against the sky. The flowers, swallows, and other such elements of nature are also beautifully weaved into the poem to give the reader a delightful and serene experience of what a sincere period of childhood looks like.

Hood makes use of vivid colors to ignite the senses of readers. The mention of lines like “The roses, red and white,” and “The fir-trees dark and high” brings out the color imagery. This specific literary technique helps readers have a vibrant sensory experience. The colors are important and cannot be overlooked as they have the ability to drastically alter the mood, appearance, and underlying themes of the poem. For instance, the cheerful red and the calming white reflect the mood of the speaker. The happiness and ease one feels as a child, reverberate through these colors.

Metaphor

In Hood’s expert hands, the poem, “I Remember, I Remember” seems to be overflowing with some of the most beautifully crafted poetic comparisons. Drawn from the first-hand experiences of the speaker, the entire plot revolves around the contrasts in the poet’s life as a child and then as a grown-up. Hood carefully features the events of an impartial childhood stacked against the harsh realities of the adult world. One of the most striking comparisons made by the poet is when he refers to his freely flowing childhood self: “My spirit flew in feathers then.” Here, the poet mentions his spirit to be flowing in the air effortlessly, just as birds. He felt light, unaware of the burdens of the adult world. He explains how this carefree spirit has been crushed by the weight of unending responsibilities: “That is so heavy now.”

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,

In this way, Hood successfully reaches his audience by the use of these grappling metaphors. These simple differences borrowed from the past make Hood’s poem extremely relatable.

Repetition

The most obvious literary technique used in this poem is repetition. In fact, it is the first thing that the reader notices. The poem starts with the phrase, “I remember, I remember,” which is then repeated in every other stanza. Other than the obvious, Hood also simply mentions the pronoun “I” a great many times throughout the poem. By doing this, Hood intentionally gives this verse a personal touch. He makes this piece a detailed and nostalgic remembrance of his own childhood experiences. “I used to think their slender tops” and “That when I was a boy” are a few instances where he uses the pronoun and explicitly stresses his presence. His constant presence also makes the poem more trustworthy and honest.

Anaphora

Anaphora applies to the use of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive lines or clauses. In this poem, the phrase, “I remember” is repeated at the beginning of each stanza to accentuate the theme of remembrance. Apart from reinforcing the idea of innocent and almost accurately balanced childhood, this repetition also provides the poem with its lyrical hint. This lyrical aspect really makes it stand out. This flow and timely succession of thought make this poem a sweet and uncomplicated read.

Alliteration

To make their poetic words a whole lot musical and alive, poets employ a variety of poetic techniques including alliteration. Alliteration is a literary technique that highlights the repeating of consonant sounds at the beginning of two or more adjacent words. It is frequently employed in poetry to produce a dynamic pace, movement, and melody by synchronizing the words. In “I Remember, I Remember,” Hood makes use of alliterations in the following instances:

  • “I remember, I remember,”
  • “Had borne my breath away!”
  • “The roses, red and white,”
  • “Those flowers made of light!/ The lilacs where the robin built,”
  • “My spirit flew in feathers then,”
  • “I used to think their slender tops”
  • “To know I’m farther off from heav’n”

This consistent rhythm strategically sends across a wave of sweet and heartwarming sounds to the audience. The musicality of this piece works as an essential medium that constantly drives readers back to their innocent childhood selves.

Assonance

The repetition of vowel sounds within a single line is known as assonance. For instance, the echoes of the “i” and “oo” in the phrases “And summer pools could hardly cool” and “Came peeping in at morn” add an alluring sound to the poem. This gives the poet the liberty to emphasize certain keywords within phrases or lines, as well as to add rhythm to the poem. It ends up introducing a playful child-like presence. The use of this literary device also unquestionably lifts the atmosphere of the poem.

Enjambment

Enjambment is used in poetry to carry a sentence or phrase over from one line to the next. Since there is usually no punctuation at the line end of an enjambed line, the reader is taken seamlessly and quickly to the next line. The use of run-on lines can easily be spotted in Hood’s “I Remember, I Remember.” It has been used on several occasions to set off a sense of urgency. For instance, in the first stanza itself, the poet, by diving right into the subject, says:

The little window where the sun

Came peeping in at morn;

(…)

But now, I often wish the night

Had borne my breath away!

Another important place where Hood employs this device is while comparing his untroubled memories of the past to the unsettling present. He says:

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!

In these run-on lines, the poet expresses the nostalgic details of his childhood. This unexpectedly hurried and on-your-feet flow of the poem brings the reader closer to the subject of childhood. It also adds a layer of complexity and a great sense of suspense.

Line-by-Line Explanation & Analysis

Lines 1-4

I remember, I remember,

The house where I was born,

The little window where the sun

Came peeping in at morn;

The first stanza of Thomas Hood’s poem opens with the refrain which makes up the title. Hood wastes no time and opts for this stylistic technique in order to introduce his persona to readers from the very beginning. This opening line then resonates throughout making the pronoun “I” the focal point and the verb “to remember” or the noun, remembrance the guiding theme of this piece. With this introduction, Hood elevates his former childhood self. In this stanza, the reader is made aware of the continuing theme of reminiscence. Accompanying the poet-speaker on his nostalgic trip through his formative years, the reader becomes an intricate part of his journey.

The poet begins to expand on the details of the house where he was born. He begins by mentioning the little window from where the frail sunrays entered the room every morning. The child, therefore, enjoyed seeing the day go by from morning to night. As a result, neither the day was extended by a lot nor it came to an early end. Hood shows how this movement of a perfectly balanced day never ceased to excite him when he was a child. These memories of the sun peeking through the window in the morning also reveal the speaker’s naivety as a child. In a sense, these lines bring forth the poet’s young and insouciant self in front of readers.

Lines 5-8

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!

Moving from the bright and joyful days of his childhood, the poet delves deeper into the darker state of his present self. Out of the comfort of his early childhood days, the poet now wishes for the night to suffocate him—to take his breath away. This reveals a more delicate relation that the poet has with his younger self that goes beyond the idea of just a casual fondness for childhood. His yearning for death is a reflection of his extremely tiring and difficult present.

The depiction of the sunshine and daytime, which represents the brighter and happier period of his life, underlines the noticeable gap shared between the past and the present. The pain that life is causing him is evident in his desire to be gone with the night. The image of the “night,” therefore, stands for everything from darkness and hopelessness to suffering and hollowness. It becomes a symbol that represents Hood’s depressive and gloomy adult self.

Lines 9-12

I remember, I remember,

The roses, red and white,

The vi’lets, and the lily-cups,

Those flowers made of light!

This second stanza of the poem introduces the readers to a new and more lively setting. The playful and joyous time of the speaker’s life is accurately portrayed here. In this stanza, he shifts the focus from his house to his garden. In this setting, he refers to a great variety of flowers that he witnessed blooming there. He mentions red and white roses, violets, lilies, and even lilacs. The mention of these flowers and an abundance of color are the two main elements in this stanza. Together, they bring a subtle richness and beauty to the entire poem.

Although surpassingly beautiful and full of life, these flowers and their attributes make them appear utterly delicate and frighteningly fragile. This point is made stronger when the poet compares them and calls them as being “made of light” followed by an exclamation mark. The “light” metaphorically hints at how heavenly and ephemeral those flowers seemed to the speaker when he was a child.

Lines 13-16

The lilacs where the robin built, 

And where my brother set

The laburnum on his birthday,—

The tree is living yet!

In the next few lines, the poet intentionally picks up an incident from his past. This technique of incorporating episodes from his personal life makes the poem more reliable and honest. The casual image of a robin’s nest in the lilacs provides a sense of comfort to readers. It also brings them closer to the persona and helps them understand him better. This imagery clearly stands out as the “lilacs” and the “robin” are part of the happy and memorable days of the speaker’s childhood.

With a controlled pace, the poet continues to dig deeper into his memories. He returns to the gloomy fragments of the present day. Caressing the memories of these good old days, he fleetingly discusses the laburnum that his brother planted in the garden on his birthday. He addresses the fact that even after all these years the memory of the tree, planted years ago, is still living: “The tree is living yet!” This last line can convey another meaning. The other idea presented here is that the poet recognizes the “tree” as a tangible reminder of his buried past—a token from his brother who is no longer alive.

Lines 17-20

I remember, I remember,

Where I was used to swing,

And thought the air must rush as fresh

To swallows on the wing;

The third stanza is propelled by Hood’s experiences associated with nature, specifically the laburnum tree, which is referred to in the previous stanza. Hood uncovers something profound that stirs up still more delightful and nostalgic memories from his past. The gap between his adolescent years and his life as a grown-up can be seen as widening with each stanza. In these lines, it is clear that the poet feels the daunting weight of adulthood looming all over him. In essence, these lines denote that the child within the speaker is growing more exhausted as he nears maturity.

The poet begins this stanza by saying that he remembers the time in his life when he used to swing so high and so freely that it could be considered equivalent to flying. The fresh air, the serene nature, and the overwhelming emotions experienced during such a simple activity delivered the same pleasure and calm to the poet that he feels flying is capable of. Therefore, the entire act of just riding a swing is elevated to the experience of taking an untroubled flight like swallows in the vast stretch of the sky.

Lines 21-24

My spirit flew in feathers then,

That is so heavy now,

And summer pools could hardly cool

The fever on my brow!

The comparison drawn between his spirit and the lightness of the feathers moves readers closer to understanding the carefree and relaxed nature of Hood’s childhood. The metaphor is further extended and even pushed by the use of alliteration in “My spirit flew in feathers then.” Moving ahead, the poet swiftly crosses the borders of time and reflects upon his existence in the current world. Here, the major theme of the poem, that is, the heaviness of adulthood comes to the forefront in seemingly simple words. The poet, who remembers losing himself so completely in nature, feels “so heavy now,” that it seems impossible for him to be free from the clutches of reason and rationality.

The last two lines also reiterate Hood’s earlier concerns. It informs the audience how grave the troubles of adulthood are. The present concerns are so prominent, according to Hood, that no childhood memories of “summer pools” can cool down the fitful “fever” of his life. This means that the poet cannot just simply slide back into his comforting memories and avoid the situation at hand. He feels dejected to think that now nothing can soothe his aching adult heart.

Lines 25-28

I remember, I remember,

The fir trees dark and high;

I used to think their slender tops

Were close against the sky:

Even though the glorification of the past still continues in these lines, the stanza finally indicates the end in a state of abject hopelessness. The speaker laments the loss of naiveté and innocence as an adult, which is the dominant theme of this poem. His remembrance and his desire to return to his earlier state stand unattended. In all, readers witness how Hood’s memories of a perfect childhood and his sense of freedom and independence come to a shattering halt as soon as he realizes that there is no return to the happy and blissful days.

Hood begins this stanza by referring to the fir trees that stood dark and high against the sky. Earlier, these trees gave the speaker something to look up to as he was of the opinion that they were close to the sky or heaven. The mysterious and almost magnificent appeal of the fir trees attracted his innocent mind. Therefore, he demonstrates how he saw the world as a child, thinking that the world was full of hope and possibilities.

Lines 29-32

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.

It is only now that he realizes how naïve and ignorant he was back then. It was his ignorance and a childish belief that made him trust that heaven was not far off. He even considers that the idea of heaven seemed more reachable as a child because his spirit was in an unaltered and pure state. This “childish ignorance” has only resulted in little to no joy. He now feels that he is closer to death and farther from the idea of heaven. Such neglect allowed him to live contentedly in the past. However, his reasoning and intellect now no longer bring him comfort. Instead, this makes him feel as though heaven is out of his reach as compared to when he was a boy. Toward the end, the poem’s tone is filled with regret and hopelessness.

Themes

Childhood vs. Adulthood

Throughout “I Remember, I Remember,” the speaker contrasts his childhood happiness with his adult despondence and distress. While looking back at the past, he feels the need to cease time or go back in time to a state where he felt safe, content, and free. Starting with the mornings of his childhood days when the sun and other natural objects were generous to him, he acknowledges every bit of pleasure he ever felt. He recalls the flowers and the memories attached to the garden and the pools in summers. He writes of the fun he had as a child, especially on the swing.

With every delightful remembrance of his childhood, the speaker also unveils the horrors and insecurities of the present day. In the last four lines of every stanza, he makes note of the dull life he is subjected to currently. It is a result of this sadness that the speaker makes multiple attempts to find shelter in his memories. Memory, therefore, acts as an escape for the poet-speaker from the struggles and harsh realities of adulthood. In the end, even though the speaker is unaware of it, he ends up regretting the period that passed—his childhood—when he was the closest to heaven. He longs to return to the blissful period and remain unbothered there indefinitely.

Innocence vs. Experience

Another obvious theme that is explored in great detail in “I Remember, I Remember” is that of innocence versus experience. The poem, from its very beginning, is centered around one concrete idea that humans are the most innocent in their formative years. Unconcerned and free from the facts of the world, children live a life that, in reality, is all white. Hood, in this nostalgic account of his past, explores this notion of innocence in children. He directs the text to highlight the simplicity with which children go about in their life.

The poem explores how children are the living image of purity that is untainted by everyday concerns and affairs of the adult world. The speaker also elaborates on this subject by adding that children are the closest to the gates of heaven, and therefore, to God. It is this idea of being closer to the creator that drives him to earnestly long for his former state:

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.

This informs readers that the adult speaker is regretful for not being able to connect to God as he could as a child. Now, his experience and biases keep him from being closer to heaven. That is why he desires to cease time and be a child forever.

Nature

In Hood’s poem, “I Remember, I Remember,” nature plays a significant role. From the very first stanza, the mention of the morning and the sun brings natural elements into play. With this reference there begins a unique interplay of nature and childhood that resonates with the overall theme of the poem. The peeping sun, the delightful garden, a vivid variety of flowers, the swing in the lap of nature, the vast sky, and the fir trees—all these objects and components add to the poem’s natural setting. This gives the poet the advantage to build on as well as enhance the mental imagery.

Nature when packed with these exuberant images from Hood’s childhood also introduces the theme of humankind’s relationship with nature. Along with this, the poet makes it a point to engage readers in the transcendental aspects that he picks up from the natural world. This works as a serene and calming presence in the text. The correlation between heaven and nature is another striking theme that Hood includes in this piece.

Historical Context

One of the lesser-known English poets, Thomas Hood is best known for his poetry collections Whims and Oddities (1826), The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies (1827), and Whimsicalities (1844). He also wrote a novel entitled Tylney Hall which was published in the year 1834. Popular for his light verse, Hood gradually shifted to writing serious poetry in his later life. Some of his most famous poems that were written a few years before his death include “The Bridge of Sighs,” “The Song of the Shirt,” and “I Remember, I Remember.”

Hood wrote the poem “I Remember, I Remember” in 1844 a year before his death in 1845. The poem was later included in The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood (1903) collected by one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, William Michael Rossetti. In the biographical introduction to the collection, Rossetti writes:

On the whole, we can pronounce Hood the finest English poet between the generation of Shelley and the generation of Tennyson.

The poem was published in the United States in 1904. It appeared in the children’s collection, Poems That Every Child Should Know edited by Mary E. Burt.

Questions and Answers

What is the poem “I Remember, I Remember” about?

The poem “I Remember, I Remember” by Thomas Hood revolves around the memories of the poet’s childhood. It is about how the poet passionately digs around through his childhood memories to unpack a deeper sense of understanding of life. The poet-speaker creatively reminisces his childhood moments by expressing his bond with the “house” where he was born and the “little window” through which the sun came peeping in, in the morning.

The poem is also about rediscovering the innocence and purity entrusted in the speaker’s soul during the formative years of his life. By doing so, Hood provides a vivid and detailed narration of his life. A life he cherished in the comforting laps of nature, where the air was fresh and the fir trees stood dark and high. Upon a deeper look, readers can find that the poem is not just about the glorious childhood days. It is, indeed, a critical reflection on the underlying sadness and anxieties of the speaker as an adult. Finally, the poem makes an attempt in urging the readers to ponder upon their childhood as that carries a significant part of who they are.

Why does the poet repeat “I remember, I remember” many a time in the poem?

The refrain “I remember, I remember” is repeated multiple times in the poem to bring home the central idea—the poet’s longing to relive his childhood days. This refrain not only helps in stressing the importance of his bygone childhood but also acts as an amalgam continuously trying to tie the experiences he had as a child. With each stanza, this line also helps in introducing the necessary momentum of the poem. The phrase undoubtedly provides a rhythm. Apart from this, the repetition also acts as a reminder to readers that the poem’s subject is continually shifting from the past to the present.

What is the significance of the title of the poem “I Remember, I Remember”?

The title of the poem, “I Remember, I Remember” reinforces the fact that the poet Thomas Hood can vividly recollect his past—the time when he was purer in soul and could live his life freely without any care for the adult world. The first “I Remember” highlights his happiness to remember his bygone childhood days. The other “I Remember” drops like a sigh on readers’ ears, rather than a repeated attempt to emphasize the former idea.

What type of poem is “I Remember, I Remember”?

“I Remember, I Remember” is a lyric that touches upon the best-known romantic themes: childhood ignorance and adult experience, and the loss of childhood innocence. To bring home his ideas, Hood uses the first-person point of view and heavily depends on the rhyme scheme and meter of ballads. The entire text follows the ABCB rhyme scheme and is composed of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter alternatively.

What is the tone of the poem “I Remember, I Remember”?

The tone of “I Remember, I Remember” is nostalgic, emotional, and melancholic—all at the same time. The poet broods over his childhood and it is due to this revisiting that the tone keeps fluctuating between tender, playful, and content to sometimes stressed, even depressed, and gloomy. This nostalgic recalling of the early days also allows the reader to feel the pain that the poet experiences as an adult. His anxieties, worries, and distress caused by the loss of innocence are visible in the poem. Readers can easily pick on this theme. They are able to distinguish between the poet’s longing for his departed childhood and his desire to end his life in the present. It is Hood’s subtle and nuanced diction that provides this poem with multiple layers of meaning. The rhythmic tune and the refrain at the beginning of every stanza make up for other elements that help in keeping the poem intact.

What is the mood of the poem “I Remember, I Remember”?

The mood of the poem keeps shifting along with the narrative. The poem begins on a happy note where the poetic persona admires his childhood days. This admiration of the past quickly converts into a strong sense of loss. At this point, the poem picks up a gloomy mood and a consistently deteriorating sense of the speaker’s adult self. His grief is so extreme that his desire to say alive is crushed under the weight of his life’s “fever.” After introducing the central idea of the poem, Hood constantly keeps a tab on his nostalgic memories. The mood of the poem, therefore, is always in flux between a cheerful and hopeful mingling with the past (childhood) as compared to a sad and hopeless complaining of the present (adulthood).

What is the theme of “I Remember, I Remember” by Thomas Hood?

The main themes of “I Remember, I Remember” are childhood versus adulthood, innocence versus experience, and nature. Hood also highlights the themes of children’s eternal bond with nature and their purity that gradually fades with maturity.

Which lines in the poem “I Remember, I Remember” represent the idea of childhood innocence?

The lines that convey the idea of childhood innocence the most are: “I used to think their slender tops/ Were close against the sky:/ It was a childish ignorance.” These lines resonate with the theme of childhood innocence the most. Readers can witness that it is the unbiased and simplistic nature of children that allows them to look beyond the materialistic significance of things.

Earlier, the poet found joy in playing on a swing that felt like flying to him. This simple and fairly ordinary detail of life when seen from the perspective of a child speaks volumes to readers. Again, it is the mention of the sky and the idea of heaven above the fir trees that really catch readers’ attention. This comes across as a powerful image that conveys the idea of the poet regarding childhood innocence. In the speaker’s younger self, there was an innocent and creative mind that found comfort in knowing that he was not too far from heaven.

What does the poet remember about his house?

The poet remembers his childhood house where he used to live. There was a little window through which soft sun rays would come peeping in during the morning.


Similar Poems about Childhood & Remembrance

  • Splendour in the Grass” by William Wordsworth — An incredible poem about the loss of childhood innocence, it speaks about the things in the present that we could look for other than looking back at what is gone.
  • Persimmons” by Li-Young Lee — This poem is about Lee’s childhood memories concerning eating persimmons with his family.
  • When I Was Fair and Young” by Queen Elizabeth I — This poem details the speaker’s nostalgia regarding her past self.
  • When my play was with thee” by Rabindranath Tagore — This poem similarly talks about the growing distance between an adult speaker and the creator.


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