LEISURE – Critical Appreciation of the Poem & Exercises

LEISURE – (William Davies)


Leisure by Davies moves us emotionally and provides a food for thought. The poet has criticized the life of a modern man. The poet has based this poem on the personal experiences of his life. The evils of modern civilization are the topic progress of science has made man machine like. It has turned him into a material beast. It has deprived him of two things. First it has deprived him to freedom and secondly it has made him greedy and ambitious. Man has become a slave of time. Each breath of his life is spent in collecting wealth.

Davies suggests that a very important factor of human life is enjoyment from various objects of nature scattered in our surroundings. But in just of wealth and status man has lost happiness and peace of mind. He is deadly busy in his worldly pursuits. He has no time to stand and stare at the beautiful and green branches of trees. In this regard, his lot is worse than animals. Even cows and sheep have spare time to enjoy the beauties of nature. He laments that man himself is the author of his tragedy.

Man crown of creature. But unfortunately his life is miserable. The poet feels very sad at man’s indifference to nature. Night looks beautiful with its shining stars on the sky. The reflection of the stars in the water of stream is a sight to be fully enjoyed. The broad day light is charming in its effects. Man is not blind to the ugliness of wealth but blinds to the liveliness of nature. The sight of the squirrels hiding their nuts in the grass contains many enjoyable points. All these sights of nature are inviting and tempting.

Man is more than a robot and computer having no aesthetic sense. The poet sums up the poem by saying that our life is full of worries and hardships. We must have some leisure time to enjoy life and its joys. We have no time to enjoy the loving eyes and dancing feet of young maiden.


The use of personification in the poem increases its beauty, appeal and importance. The diction is very simple and quite appropriate to the subject-matter of the poem. The tone of the poem is satirical.


What are some of the simple delights we miss in our rushed life?
Point out the beauties of nature that can be source of pleasure for man in his day to day life.

Some of the enjoyments which I personally miss because of shortage or lack of time are my visits to Northern areas of my country. I often make plan to move out of my city towards paradise like areas like Swat, Naran, Kalam, Muree and Skardu which possess simple and innocent beauty of nature. Alas! I cannot go there because of my busy life. I miss viewing the grandeur of the mountains, trees and flowers and flowing streams and fountains in these valleys.

I also miss the joys of novel reading due to my busy life. I spend these hours in money earning programs. I also miss sports very much.


1. Why do you think the poet has given this title to his poem when he is talking about life full of cares with no time to stand and stare? (100-150 words)
2. What is the poet trying to say in the last two lines? (60-70 words)
3. Write a note on the beauties of nature. (150 words)
4. Point out where has personification been used in this poem.
5. Write down the pairs of rhyming words in the poem.

Quotations and references for this poem

1) One impulse from vernal wood
May teach you more of man
Of moral, evil and good
Than all the sages can.
(William Wordsworth)

2) Getting and spending we lay waste our powers.
Little we see in nature that is ours.
(William Wordsworth)
3) When work is a pleasure, life is a joy! When work is duty, life is slavery”.
(Maxim Gorky)
4) One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

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