Summary & Analysis of ‘Leisure’ by William Davies

Text of the Poem Leisure

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.


No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.


No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.


No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.


No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.


No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.


A poor life this is if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.


The poem leisure by William Davies is a satiric poem on a modern man. In the poem, Leisure, the poet, William Davies, tells us about the hectic routines of our daily life. He says that we have no time to stand and stare at beauty of nature.

Summary of “Leisure”

In the first two lines, poet asks a question about life that looks full of care though we have no time to see beauty of nature. In last stanza poets answers this question.

In second stanza, the poet further explains his point of view that even we have no time to stand under the beautiful and green branches of trees. He wants to realize us that how these trees are beautiful but we spare no moments to look at their beauty. Poet says that animal like cows and sheep are better than us who have time to enjoy beauty of green trees.

In third stanza, the poet says that when we pass through tall trees; we do not spare some moments to stop and look at their beauty. These dark and tall trees provide beautiful scenery where squirrels or other small animals play and hide their foods in the grass for winter. He again wants to realize us that we are always in a hurry and miss enjoying these scenes of natural beauty.

In the fourth stanza, William Davies depicts beautiful imagery that at day time when rays of the sun falls upon the water of streams and river and their reflection looks like stars in the sky at night. But our busy routines are a hurdle to enjoy such beautiful scenes and we miss them.

In the fifth stanza, the poet personifies beauty as a beautiful young girl dancing with a smiling face. He again realizes us that busy routines of human being deprived them to see beauty of nature. When beauty is dancing, we cannot see her feet because of a busy life. 

In the sixth stanza, poet extends his points of view that beauty is scattered all around us but we can’t see it. As he personifies it as a beautiful girl; he says that we can’t see her smiling face. But we have no time to stand and stare at nature that can refresh us.

In the last stanza, poets take pity on human being that what a life full of care! He says that if we have no time to enjoy nature; we are living a poor life. As human beings, we should spare some time to look at natural beauty spread all around us to enjoy life. He answers his question that it is a poor life without time to enjoy natural beauty.

Structure of the Poem Leisure

The structure of the poem is a series of couplets, each containing two lines with a consistent rhyme scheme (AA, BB, CC, etc.). This structure helps to convey the message succinctly while maintaining a rhythmic flow. The repetition of the phrase “No time” emphasizes the speaker’s lament over the lack of leisure and contemplation in contemporary existence.

Critical Appreciation of the Poem Leisure

In the poem Leisure, William Davies criticize human beings of the modern world for their busy life that made them busy enough that they have no time to enjoy beauty of nature. The poet opens his poem by a question that is this life is full of care? And at the end he answers his question after analyzing human being’s life and named that life a “poor life” if we have no time to enjoy nature.

He satirizes human beings and prefers animals that have time to see natural beauty. He says that we are enough busy that we cannot enjoy beautiful sceneries of the nature. He provides beautiful imagery of reflection of sun rays over a stream and but we have lost our happiness and peace of mind. We remain busy in worldly pursuits and miss delights of the natural world.      

He tries to explain with figurative language and personifies beauty as a beautiful girl: one of the most beautiful creatures of the universe. He compares beauty as a beautiful dancing girl which should catch our attention but our busy routines made us blind. We can’t see her dance though she is dancing in front of our eyes. He says that we have no quest to explore aesthetic beauty of the nature.

In last lines, William Davies satirizes modern man’s life and says it is a poor life if we have no time to entertain ourselves by nature. He summarizes the poem by saying that our life is full of hardships and worries.

Use of Personification in Leisure:

Personification is a tool of figurative language where an inanimate object or an abstract idea is attributed with traits of living beings. William Davies beautifully personifies beauty as a beautiful dancing girl with a smile on her face. Here natural beauty is attributed with living beings’ traits like dancing, smiling and having feet. The use of personification in the poem increases its beauty and creates interest for readers.

Theme of the Poem Leisure

The theme of the poem is the importance of taking time to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the natural world amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. It highlights how modern life’s busyness can distract us from experiencing the simple joys and marvels around us.

Tone of the Poet

The tone of the poet in poem LEISURE is satirical. The poet satirizes human beings and prefers animals upon them who have time to enjoy nature. The diction is very simple and quite appropriate to the subject-matter of the poem.