Cross-Currents

A poem by Thomas Hardy

They parted a pallid, trembling I pair,
And rushing down the lane
He left her lonely near me there;
I asked her of their pain.

"It is for ever," at length she said,
"His friends have schemed it so,
That the long-purposed day to wed
Never shall we two know."

"In such a cruel case," said I,
"Love will contrive a course?"
" Well, no . . . A thing may underlie,
Which robs that of its force;

"A thing I could not tell him of,
Though all the year I have tried;
This: never could I have given him love,
Even had I been his bride.

"So, when his kinsfolk stop the way
Point-blank, there could not be
A happening in the world to-day
More opportune for me!

"Yet hear no doubt to your surprise -
I am sorry, for his sake,
That I have escaped the sacrifice
I was prepared to make!"

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