The Deserted Village is quite a long poem, 430 lines to
exact. All the lines are given in heroic couplets. It is clear that Oliver
Goldsmith as poet is person that is being mentioned in the poem. The
first-person narration is used to express the passing of a way of life.
Title already gives away the theme of this poem, which
is about a deserted village. The poem can be divided into three sections: a description
of the village as it used to be at the time of Goldsmiths youth. This is
followed by a description of the village how to village looks today, today
as in the day it was written of course and finally last section that details
life in America, where the occupants of Auburn have gone. Auburn has been identified
as Lissoy in Ireland, this is the poet’s hometown. In the first paragraphs of
the poem, Auburn is, strangely enough, described as if it were an Englishtown.
The details and images of life in this rustic village
are consistently English: He creates a picture of rustic life in England when
times were much simpler and land was owned and used commonly by all the farmers
together. The people were good and were united by common purpose, living in
accord with nature. This interconnection of everything in nature is something
is we can now say clearly defines 18th century poetry since it was
also the main subject in the last to poems and once again we see it here.
This living according with nature is now gone. The
poet explains that he had wanted to retire in Auburn, where he had fantasized
that nightly around a fire on the village common he would tell stories and share with villagers his
book-learning and other experiences. He has returned to find the village deserted,
in a state of rust and decay. As he looks around the empty village various
images and memories come to mind.
The village is deserted because its occupants have
been forced to leave. The government had put an end to the common land.
Villagers were either left to move to the city or else migrate to America. The poet
describes America as flooded with fierce animals as well as savage people and
he paints a big contrast between their original idyllic life here in the
village and the murderous savagery over there in America.
The poet main focus of this poem is the passing away of the simple joys
of nature. Rich people may be tempted to see these simple joys as something of
the poor. I think everyone can relate
that the these ode to nature have something crude and unsophisticated about
them. The poet feels that celebrating
the simple natural joys of nature are more appealing and then all
artificial polish of the pleasures that are being enjoyed by rich. This celebrating
of the joys of nature makes it fitting for this collections of poems and makes
it fit in the Tintern Abbey and Spring.