‘Stabat Mater’ is a curious poem about the deep connection between mother and son; it explores interesting and unusual family dynamics, showing the appreciation that Hunt had for his own mother. 

This post includes a breakdown of the stanzas, an insight into the speaker + voice of the poem, and an exploration of the themes and deeper meanings. It’s is only a quick overview to help you get to grips with the poem; you can access a complete in-depth breakdown of the poem, plus tasks, exercises and essay questions via the links below.


  • Inscribed – written
  • Elder – older than someone
  • Roams – wanters around/travels and explores


My mother called my father ‘Mr Hunt’, instead of his first name, for the first few years that they were married. I learned this from reading a book that she had given to him, in the front of it she had written: “To dear Mr Hunt, from his loving wife.”

She was embarrassed when I asked her why she did this, but later on, she explained how hard it had been to call him any other name at first – because he was even older than her father, so his maturity and the age difference made her feel so small.

Now, still like a girl, but in a different way, she calls my father lots of other names and guides him in his old age, she sometimes turns and looks at me as if it were a game…


The speaker demonstrates clear affection and respect for his mother, who married a much older man and became his carer later in life – there is a sense of formality and distance between the mother and father, and also between the speaker and his father, yet the mother takes her duty of marriage seriously and works hard to be a good wife regardless.

Thanks for reading! You can buy our detailed study guide here if you’re studying this particular poem. 

This includes:

  • Vocabulary
  • Story + Summary
  • Speaker + Voice
  • Language Feature Analysis
  • Form and Structure Analysis
  • Context
  • Attitudes + Messages
  • Themes + Deeper Ideas
  • Key Quotations
  • Extra tasks / possible essay questions