Thomas Hardy

T
Thomas Hardy
The Last Performance
“I am playing my oldest tunes,” declared she,
“All the old tunes I know,—
Those I learnt ever so long ago.”
—Why she should think just then she’d play them
Silence cloaks like snow.

When I returned from the town at nightfall
Notes continued to pour
As when I had left two hours before:
Read Poem
0
35
Rating:

'According to the Mighty Working'

I

When moiling seems at cease
In the vague void of night-time,
And heaven's wide roomage stormless
Between the dusk and light-time,
And fear at last is formless,
We call the allurement Peace.

II

Peace, this hid riot, Change,
This revel of quick-cued mumming,
This never truly being,
Read Poem
0
44
Rating:

And There Was a Great Calm
(On the Signing of the Armistice, 11 Nov. 1918)
I
There had been years of Passion—scorching, cold,
Read Poem
0
55
Rating:

England to Germany in 1914
Autumn 1914 'O England, may God punish thee!'
—Is it that Teuton genius flowers
Only to breathe malignity
Upon its friend of earlier hours?
Read Poem
0
40
Rating:

I Looked Up from My Writing
I looked up from my writing,
And gave a start to see,
As if rapt in my inditing,
The moon's full gaze on me.

Her meditative misty head
Was spectral in its air,
And I involuntarily said,
'What are you doing there?'

'Oh, I've been scanning pond and hole
And waterway hereabout
For the body of one with a sunken soul
Who has put his life-light out.

Read Poem
0
44
Rating:

A New Year's Eve in War Time
1915-1916
I

Phantasmal fears,
Read Poem
0
45
Rating:

On the Belgian Expatriation
October 18, 1914 I dreamt that people from the Land of Chimes
Arrived one autumn morning with their bells,
To hoist them on the towers and citadels
Of my own country, that the musical rhymes
Read Poem
0
41
Rating:

The Pity of It
April 1915 I walked in loamy Wessex lanes, afar
From rail-track and from highway, and I heard
In field and farmstead many an ancient word
Of local lineage like 'Thu bist,' 'Er war,'
Read Poem
0
43
Rating:

Before Marching and After
(inMemoriam F. W. G.) Orion swung southward aslant
Where the starved Egdon pine-trees had thinned,
Read Poem
0
41
Rating:

In Time of ‘The Breaking of Nations’

I
Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.

II
Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

III
Read Poem
0
40
Rating:

Men Who March Away
What of the faith and fire within us
Men who march away
Ere the barn-cocks say
Night is growing gray,
Leaving all that here can win us;
What of the faith and fire within us
Men who march away?


Is it a purblind prank, O think you,
Friend with the musing eye,
Who watch us stepping by
With doubt and dolorous sigh?
Can much pondering so hoodwink you!
Read Poem
0
42
Rating:

The Oxen
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

Read Poem
0
39
Rating:

During Wind and Rain
They sing their dearest songs—
He, she, all of them—yea,
Treble and tenor and bass,
And one to play;
With the candles mooning each face. . . .
Ah, no; the years O!
How the sick leaves reel down in throngs!

They clear the creeping moss—
Elders and juniors—aye,
Making the pathways neat
And the garden gay;
And they build a shady seat. . . .
Ah, no; the years, the years,
See, the white storm-birds wing across.
Read Poem
0
43
Rating:

The Self-Unseeing
Here is the ancient floor,
Footworn and hollowed and thin,
Here was the former door
Where the dead feet walked in.

She sat here in her chair,
Smiling into the fire;
He who played stood there,
Read Poem
0
36
Rating:

The Voice
Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Read Poem
0
37
Rating:

The Convergence of the Twain
(Lines on the loss of the "Titanic") I
In a solitude of the sea
Read Poem
0
33
Rating:

A Broken Appointment
You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb,—
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure lovingkindness’ sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.
Read Poem
0
39
Rating:

Channel Firing
That night your great guns, unawares,
Shook all our coffins as we lay,
And broke the chancel window-squares,
We thought it was the Judgment-day

And sat upright. While drearisome
Arose the howl of wakened hounds:
The mouse let fall the altar-crumb,
The worms drew back into the mounds,
Read Poem
0
35
Rating:

The Chosen
“A woman for whom great gods might strive!”
I said, and kissed her there:
And then I thought of the other five,
And of how charms outwear.

I thought of the first with her eating eyes,
And I thought of the second with hers, green-gray,
And I thought of the third, experienced, wise,
Read Poem
0
46
Rating:

The Echo Elf Answers
How much shall I love her?
For life, or not long?
“Not long.”

Alas! When forget her?
In years, or by June?
“By June.”
Read Poem
0
41
Rating:

The Haunter
He does not think that I haunt here nightly :
How shall I let him know
That whither his fancy sets him wandering
I, too, alertly go?—
Hover and hover a few feet from him
Just as I used to do,
But cannot answer the words he lifts me—
Only listen thereto!
Read Poem
0
36
Rating:

How She Went to Ireland
Dora’s gone to Ireland
Through the sleet and snow;
Promptly she has gone there
In a ship, although
Why she’s gone to Ireland
Dora does not know.

That was where, yea, Ireland,
Dora wished to be:
When she felt, in lone times,
Shoots of misery,
Often there, in Ireland,
Dora wished to be.

Hence she’s gone to Ireland,
Read Poem
0
37
Rating:

Neutral Tones
We stood by a pond that winter day,
And the sun was white, as though chidden of God,
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod;
– They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles of years ago;
And some words played between us to and fro
Read Poem
0
42
Rating:

The Phantom Horsewoman
I

Queer are the ways of a man I know:
He comes and stands
In a careworn craze,
And looks at the sands
And the seaward haze
With moveless hands
Read Poem
0
37
Rating:

Rain on a Grave
Clouds spout upon her
Their waters amain
In ruthless disdain, –
Her who but lately
Had shivered with pain
As at touch of dishonour
If there had lit on her
So coldly, so straightly
Read Poem
0
41
Rating:

The Shadow on the Stone

I went by the Druid stone That broods in the garden white and lone,
And I stopped and looked at the shifting shadows
That at some moments fall thereon
From the tree hard by with a rhythmic swing,
And they shaped in my imagining
To the shade that a well-known head and shoulders
Read Poem
0
32
Rating:

At Lulworth Cove a Century Back
Had I but lived a hundred years ago
I might have gone, as I have gone this year,
By Warmwell Cross on to a Cove I know,
And Time have placed his finger on me there:

"You see that man?" — I might have looked, and said,
"O yes: I see him. One that boat has brought
Which dropped down Channel round Saint Alban's Head.
Read Poem
0
35
Rating:

The Darkling Thrush
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
Read Poem
0
46
Rating:

The Dead Man Walking
They hail me as one living,
But don't they know
That I have died of late years,
Untombed although?

I am but a shape that stands here,
A pulseless mould,
A pale past picture, screening
Read Poem
0
42
Rating:

Fragment
At last I entered a long dark gallery,
Catacomb-lined; and ranged at the side
Were the bodies of men from far and wide
Who, motion past, were nevertheless not dead.

"The sense of waiting here strikes strong;
Everyone's waiting, waiting, it seems to me;
What are you waiting for so long? —
Read Poem
0
34
Rating:

Hap
If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!”

Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.
Read Poem
0
42
Rating:

In Tenebris
“Percussus sum sicut foenum, et aruit cor meum.” —Ps. ci. Wintertime nighs;
But my bereavement-pain
Read Poem
0
38
Rating:

The Man He Killed
"Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

"But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

"I shot him dead because —
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

Read Poem
0
39
Rating:

The Masked Face
I found me in a great surging space,
At either end a door,
And I said: "What is this giddying place,
With no firm-fixéd floor,
That I knew not of before?"
"It is Life," said a mask-clad face.

I asked: "But how do I come here,
Read Poem
0
37
Rating:

No Buyers
A Load of brushes and baskets and cradles and chairs
Labours along the street in the rain:
With it a man, a woman, a pony with whiteybrown hairs. —
The man foots in front of the horse with a shambling sway
At a slower tread than a funeral train,
While to a dirge-like tune he chants his wares,
Swinging a Turk's-head brush (in a drum-major's way
When the bandsmen march and play).
Read Poem
0
42
Rating:

The Ruined Maid
"O 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?" —
"O didn't you know I'd been ruined?" said she.

— "You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,
Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;
And now you've gay bracelets and bright feathers three!" —
Read Poem
0
41
Rating:

Satires of Circumstance in Fifteen Glimpses VIII: In the Study
He enters, and mute on the edge of a chair
Sits a thin-faced lady, a stranger there,
A type of decayed gentility;
And by some small signs he well can guess
That she comes to him almost breakfastless.

"I have called — I hope I do not err —
I am looking for a purchaser
Read Poem
0
31
Rating:

The To-be-forgotten
I
I heard a small sad sound,
And stood awhile among the tombs around:
"Wherefore, old friends," said I, "are you distrest,
Now, screened from life's unrest?"

II
—"O not at being here;
Read Poem
0
44
Rating: