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Archive for the ‘hardy’ Category

The Subalterns

I

“Poor wanderer,” said the leaden sky,
“I fain would lighten thee,
But there are laws in force on high
Which say it must not be.”

II

–“I would not freeze thee, shorn one,” cried
The North, “knew I but how
To warm my breath, to slack my stride;
But I am ruled as thou.”

III

–“To-morrow I attack thee, wight,”
Said Sickness. “Yet I swear
I bear thy little ark no spite,
But am bid enter there.”

IV

–“Come hither, Son,” I heard Death say;
“I did not will a grave
Should end thy pilgrimage to-day,
But I, too, am a slave!”

V

We smiled upon each other then,
And life to me had less
Of that fell look it wore ere when
They owned their passiveness.

-Thomas Hardy

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At the Entering of the New Year

I

(OLD STYLE)

Our songs went up and out the chimney,

And roused the home-gone husbandmen;

Our allemands, our heys, poussettings,

Our hands-across and back again,

Sent rhythmic throbbings through the casements

On to the white highway,

Where nighted farers paused and muttered,

“Keep it up well, do they!”

The contrabasso’s measured booming

Sped at each bar to the parish bounds,

To shepherds at their midnight lambings,

To stealthy poachers on their rounds;

And everybody caught full duly

The notes of our delight,

As Time unrobed the Youth of Promise

Hailed by our sanguine sight.

II

(NEW STYLE)

We stand in the dusk of a pine-tree limb,

As if to give ear to the muffled peal,

Brought or withheld at the breeze’s whim;

But our truest heed is to words that steal

From the mantled ghost that looms in the gray,

And seems, so far as our sense can see,

To feature bereaved Humanity,

As it sighs to the imminent year its say:—

“O stay without, O stay without,

Calm comely Youth, untasked, untired;

Though stars irradiate thee about

Thy entrance here is undesired.

Open the gate not, mystic one;

Must we avow what we would close confine?

With thee, good friend, we would have converse none,

Albeit the fault may not be thine.”

-Thomas Hardy

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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,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb

Our childhood used to know,”

I should go with him in the gloom,

Hoping it might be so.

-Thomas Hardy

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