Charlotte Mew's poem, The Farmer's Bride, is a heartbreakingly beautiful tale of love and loss. Through vivid imagery and captivating language, Mew paints a portrait of the farmer and his bride, their joyous union, and the tragedy that ultimately befalls them. The poem speaks to universal themes of love, loss, and resilience in the face of adversity.

The story of a man's obsession with his wife and a woman's fear of her husband is heartbreakingly tragic. Tragedy ensues in this story, which is not a love story, but the tale of an obsessive husband and a frightened wife. By narrating the events through the farmer's perspective, readers can better understand both characters and feel compassion for them.

Through the narrator's voice, writer-Mew paints an intimate portrait of a marriage gone wrong. The reader is taken on an emotional journey as they witness the man's desperate attempts to control his wife and the woman's sorrowful attempts to flee from him. Mew masterfully conveys this tragedy in her story, making for an unforgettable read.


A stanza is a powerful tool for poets, songwriters, and authors to convey meaning and emotion. It is a set of lines grouped by rhythmical pattern and meter, often containing four or more lines. Whether in the form of a couplet, tercet or quatrain, the stanza can be used to create unique and engaging works of art.

Stanzas are an essential element of poetry that can be used to create structure and form. By controlling each stanza's length, pattern, and rhyme scheme, poets can craft their poems into any type they desire. Using stanzas, poets can create longer works with a clear organisation and flow. Stanzas give poets a powerful tool to add complexity and depth to their work while maintaining clarity.

Stanza 1

Three summers since I chose a maid,
Too young maybe—but more’s to do
At harvest-time than bide and woo.
     When us was wed she turned afraid
Of love and me and all things human;
Like the shut of a winter’s day
Her smile went out, and ’twadn’t a woman—
     More like a little frightened fay.
         One night, in the Fall, she runned away.

From this stanza of The Farmer's Bride, we can infer that it has been three years since the farmer joined in matrimony with his wife. According to him, he chose a maid, which he later mourned was too young for the job. By studying where and when Mew lived, it can be deduced why the maid was very young.

Mew, born in London in the late 1800s, was very aware that marriages between men and women as young as twelve were common, even though it wasn't as frequent as it had been compared to previous generations.

Until recently, women were considered inferior to men and were not allowed to choose their partners. Instead, their families would decide who to marry without considering their opinion. In this situation, a destitute young woman was united in matrimony with a rural farmer.

The tone and inaccuracy of English used suggests a lower socio-economic background. The speaker mentions that the girl may have been as young as twelve and too young to marry, regardless of age. He openly confesses that his lack of time for her during harvest was problematic. Upon marriage, the girl became consumed with fear and anxiety.

Not feeling safe, a young girl of twelve or thirteen is unlikely to have been physically mature enough to enjoy a sexual experience. Yet, at a young age, she was suddenly exposed to the complexities of an adult relationship. Her experience instilled a deep fear and insecurity regarding romance and human interaction.

Her fear had taken over, making her small and scared; the farmer understood that his wife was more similar to a fairy than a lady. Then, one night, she disappeared, leaving him behind.

Stanza 2

“Out ’mong the sheep, her be,” they said,
’Should properly have been abed;
But sure enough she wadn’t there
Lying awake with her wide brown stare.
So over seven-acre field and up-along across the down
We chased her, flying like a hare
Before out lanterns. To Church-Town
     All in a shiver and a scare
We caught her, fetched her home at last
     And turned the key upon her, fast.

With the support of his friends, the farmer diligently looked for her until he eventually located her and brought her back to safety. Intriguingly, the farmer never considers why the girl fled from home. He does not contemplate what she may have felt when transitioning from being a child to a wife.

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