The Two Wives

A poem by Thomas Hardy

Smoker's Club-Story


I waited at home all the while they were boating together -
My wife and my near neighbour's wife:
Till there entered a woman I loved more than life,
And we sat and sat on, and beheld the uprising dark weather,
With a sense that some mischief was rife.

Tidings came that the boat had capsized, and that one of the ladies
Was drowned which of them was unknown:
And I marvelled my friend's wife? or was it my own
Who had gone in such wise to the land where the sun as the shade is?
We learnt it was HIS had so gone.

Then I cried in unrest: "He is free! But no good is releasing
To him as it would be to me!"
" But it is," said the woman I loved, quietly.
"How?" I asked her. " Because he has long loved me too without ceasing,
And it's just the same thing, don't you see."

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