the flower-pots are covered in overgrown moss and an ornamental pear tree hangs from rusty nails on the wall. The sheds stand abandoned and broken, and the straw (“thatch”) covering the roof of the farmhouse is worn and full of weeds. A woman, presumably standing in the vicinity of the farmhouse, is described in a four-line refrain that recurs—with slight modifications—as the last lines of each of the poem’s stanzas: “She only said, ‘My life is dreary / He cometh not,’ she said; / She said, ‘I am aweary, aweary, / I would that I were dead!’” The woman’s tears fall with the dew in the evening and then fall again in the morning, before the dew has dispersed. In both the morning and the evening, she is unable to look to the “sweet heaven.” At night, when the bats have come and gone, and the sky is dark, she opens her window curtain and looks out at the expanse of land. She comments that “The night is dreary” and repeats her death-wish refrain. In the middle of the night, the woman wakes up to the sound of the crow, and stays up until the cock calls out an hour before dawn. She hears the lowing of the oxen and seemingly walks in her sleep until the cold winds of the morning come. She repeats the death-wish refrain exactly as in the first stanza, except that this time it is “the day” and not “my life” that is dreary. Within a stone’s throw from the wall lies an artificial passage for water filled with black waters and lumps of moss. A silver-green poplar tree shakes back and forth and serves as the only break in an otherwise flat, level, gray landscape. The woman repeats the refrain of the first stanza. When the moon lies low at night, the woman looks to her white window curtain, where she sees the shadow of the poplar swaying in the wind. But when the moon is very low and the winds exceptionally strong, the shadow of the poplar falls not on the curtain but on her bed and across her forehead. The woman says that “the night is dreary” and wishes once again that she were dead. During the day, the doors creak on their hinges, the fly sings in the window pane, and the mouse cries out or peers from behind the lining of the wall. The farmhouse is haunted by old faces, old footsteps, and old voices, and the woman repeats the refrain exactly as it appears in the first and fourth stanzas. The woman is confused and disturbed by the sounds of the sparrow chirping on the roof, the clock ticking slowly, and the wind blowing through the poplar. Most of all, she hates the early evening hour when the sun begins to set and a sunbeam lies across her bed chamber. The woman recites an emphatic variation on the death-wish refrain; now it is not “the day,” or even her “life” that is dreary; rather, we read: “Then said she, ‘Iam very dreary, / He will not come,’ she said; / She wept, ‘I am aweary, aweary,/ Oh God, that I were dead!’”
Form “Mariana” takes the form of seven twelve-line stanzas, each of which is divided into three four-line rhyme units according to the pattern ABAB CDDC EFEF.