The first stanza focuses on the children playing in the morning; the second stanza shifts to the older people recalling their own youthful pleasures and is possibly set in the afternoon; and the third takes place at evening, as the weary children begin their tired journey home.
Children grow tired. In the second stanza, time has progressed. Like the children, they too used to enjoy when they were young on the ecchoing green.
Round the laps of their mother, Many sisters and brothers. The sun does descend, And our sports have an end.
Dark Green is not cheerful but dread and scary. At first glance, this scenario could be explained as the children going home for the sake of sleep and such, but a careful exploration of the wording reveals so much more.
On the darkening green. What begins then as a purely beautiful tale in the first stanza progressively delves into melancholy until the beauty, in the end, has shifted from the primary focus to the underlying theme.
He is sitting under the oak tree along with other old people. They seem to be like birds who have returned to their nests.
The sun begins to set and the tired children return to their homes.