The Dear

A poem by Thomas Hardy

I plodded to Fairmile Hill-top, where
A maiden one fain would guard
From every hazard and every care
Advanced on the roadside sward.

I wondered how succeeding suns
Would shape her wayfarings,
And wished some Power might take such ones
Under Its warding wings.

The busy breeze came up the hill
And smartened her cheek to red,
And frizzled her hair to a haze. With a will
"Good-morning, my Dear!" I said.

She glanced from me to the far-off gray,
And, with proud severity,
"Good-morning to you - though I may say
I am not YOUR Dear," quoth she:

"For I am the Dear of one not here -
One far from his native land!" -
And she passed me by; and I did not try
To make her understand.

1901

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