It Never Comes Again

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Concept Map

Text of the poem

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Idea of the poem

Core Meaning

Alternative interpretations

Context of the poem

About the Author

Richard Henry Stoddard (July 2, 1825 – May 12, 1903) was an American critic and poet. He was born in Hingham, Massachusetts. His father, a sea-captain, was wrecked and lost on one of his voyages while Richard was a child, and the lad went in 1835 to New York City with his mother, who had married again. He attended the public schools of that city. He became a blacksmith and later an iron moulder, reading much poetry at the same time. His talents brought him into contact with young men interested in literature, notably with Bayard Taylor, who had just published his Views Afoot. In 1849 he gave up his industrial trades and began to write for a living. He contributed to the Union Magazine, the Knickerbocker Magazine, Putnam's Monthly Magazine and the New York Evening Post. In 1853 Nathaniel Hawthorne helped him to secure the appointment of inspector of customs of the Port of New York. He kept this job until 1870.

From 1870 to 1873, he was confidential clerk to George B. McClellan in the New York dock department, and from 1874 to 1875 city librarian of New York. He was literary reviewer for the New York World (1860–1870); one of the editors of Vanity Fair; editor of The Aldine (1869–1879), and literary editor of the Mail and the Mail and Express (1880–1903). He died in New York on May 12, 1903.

More important than his critical was his poetical work, which at its best is sincere, original and marked by delicate fancy, and felicity of form; and his songs have given him a high and permanent place among American lyric poets. His wife, Elizabeth Drew Stoddard was also a novelist.

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Transacting the text

Language appreciation

Meaning making

Pictures/ video clips are an interesting way of assisting students to comprehend a poem. A picture helps in creating a visual memory and can also help in understanding new words.


Figures of speech

A figure of speech is the use of a word or words diverging from its usual meaning. It can also be a special repetition, arrangement or omission of words with literal meaning, or a phrase with a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it, as in idiom, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, or personification. Figures of speech often provide emphasis, freshness of expression, or clarity. However, clarity may also suffer from their use, as any figure of speech introduces an ambiguity between literal and figurative interpretation. A figure of speech is sometimes called a rhetorical figure or a locution. To know more click

Additional resources

To access other works by Richard Henry Stoddard, click here.


Ask the learners to write a short paragraph using the hints given below.


  • What is the poem about?
  • Which is the most striking image and why?