creeping of the flesh of somnolence

chong lee

Senior Member
The quote is from The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy.

I am not sure I got the comparation between
Egdon Heath and other places rightly. I think because winter is approaching, other places are prepare to sleep. But there is a liveliness
here that every creature is alarmed to perceive any motion.
Am I right in that way of consideration?


On the fine days at this time of the year, and earlier, certain ephemeral operations were apt to disturb, in their trifling way, the majestic calm of Egdon Heath. They were activities which, beside those of a town, a village, or even a farm, would have appeared as the ferment of stagnation merely, a creeping of the flesh of somnolence. But here, away from comparisons, shut in by the stable hills, among which mere walking had the novelty of pageantry, and where any man could imagine himself to be Adam without the least difficulty, they attracted the attention of every bird within eyeshot, every reptile not yet asleep, and set the surrounding rabbits curiously watching from hillocks at a safe distance.
Last edited:
  • 0hisa2me

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think he's saying that Egdon Heath is so very calm and sleepy that even the smallest activity attracts notice, whereas in a town or a village or even a farm, it would be barely perceptible.


    Senior Member
    British English
    I suppose he meant that fermentation (of wine, for instance) takes place slowly, almost inperceptibly. Given that the word 'fermentation' is sometimes also associated with intense activity, you could argue that the term is not well chosen.
    < Previous | Next >