God's Education

A poem by Thomas Hardy

I saw him steal the light away
That haunted in her eye:
It went so gently none could say
More than that it was there one day
And missing by-and-by.

I watched her longer, and he stole
Her lily tincts and rose;
All her young sprightliness of soul
Next fell beneath his cold control,
And disappeared like those.

I asked: "Why do you serve her so?
Do you, for some glad day,
Hoard these her sweets - ?" He said, "O no,
They charm not me; I bid Time throw
Them carelessly away."

Said I: "We call that cruelty -
We, your poor mortal kind."
He mused. "The thought is new to me.
Forsooth, though I men's master be,
Theirs is the teaching mind!"

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