Poems by Thomas Hardy

Sorted by title, showing title and first line

The trees are afraid to put forth buds,
You did not come,
That night, that night,
Up and be doing, all who have a hand
South of the Line, inland from far Durban,
(MELLSTOCK circa 1835)
As "legal representative"
The day is turning ghost,
Your troubles shrink not, though I feel them less
He lay awake, with a harassed air,
Beeny did not quiver,
Why go to Saint-Juliot? What's Juliot to me?
"It shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine."
And he is risen? Well, be it so . . .
(E. L. H. H. C. H.)
I dwelt in the shade of a city,
There is a house in a city street
The rain smites more and more,
Who were the twain that trod this track
By a wall the stranger now calls his,
I do not wish to win your vow
On that gray night of mournful drone,
As evening shaped I found me on a moor
"I will get a new string for my fiddle,
I marked when the weather changed,
When you slowly emerged from the den of Time,
Attentive eyes, fantastic heed,
I see the ghost of a perished day;
I mark the months in liveries dank and dry,
(Algernon Charles Swinburne, 1837-1909)
"What do I catch upon the night-wind, husband? -
In years defaced and lost,
I bore a daughter flower-fair,
I saw it - pink and white - revealed
(A Reminiscence)
Yes; such it was;
Through vaults of pain,
On Monday night I closed my door,
Nine drops of water bead the jessamine,
I pace along, the rain-shafts riddling me,
"War ends, and he's returning
This is the story a man told me
(December, 1899)
Will's at the dance in the Club-room below,
How she held up the horses' heads,
"Ah Madam; you've indeed come back here?
If he should live a thousand years
I skimmed the strings; I sang quite low;
A senseless school, where we must give
Call off your eyes from care
(April: 1905)
Hereto I come to interview a ghost;
The railway bore him through
Simple was I and was young;
Knight, a true sister-love
Black'on frowns east on Maidon,
The singers are gone from the Cornmarket-place
(J. H. 1813-1904)
(To F. E. D.)
Last Post sounded
On afternoons of drowsy calm
When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay,
"Ah, are you digging on my grave
I marked her ruined hues,
Where once we danced, where once sang,
It was at the very date to which we have come,
Seven millions stand
There trudges one to a merry-making
Wit, weight, or wealth there was not
Recalling R. T.
Now I am dead you sing to me
I met you first - ah, when did I first meet you?
The chimes called midnight, just at interlune,
As 'twere to-night, in the brief space
To -
At a bygone Western country fair
If hours be years the twain are blest,
O poet, come you haunting here
Thy shadow, Earth, from Pole to Central Sea,
I went and stood outside myself,
When we as strangers sought
As I drive to the junction of lane and highway,
The ten hours' light is abating,
Had I but lived a hundred years ago
"That same first fiddler who leads the orchestra to-night
How could I be aware,
The bars are thick with drops that show
I thought you a fire
I sat at dinner in my prime,
A woman was playing,
"There is not much that I can do,
These summer landscapes clump, and copse, and croft -
(Affixing the Lists of Killed and Wounded: December, 1899)
There floated the sounds of church-chiming,
She looked like a bird from a cloud
When night was lifting,
Here by the baring bough
Francois Hippolite Barthelemon, first-fiddler at Vauxhall Gardens,
March 1870 March 1913
When I walked roseless tracks and wide,
A time there was - as one may guess
(in Memoriam F. W. G.)
In the black winter morning
I dream that the dearest I ever knew
We went a day's excursion to the stream,
Between us now and here -
(Near Tooting Common)
Around the house the flakes fly faster,
Why go the east road now? . . .
Not far from Mellstock - so tradition saith -
(Two who became a story)
Here's one in whom Nature feared - faint at such vying -
(After passing Sirmione, April 1887.)
That night your great guns, unawares,
If there were in my kalendar
How smartly the quarters of the hour march by
(Verses 1, 3, Key Major; Verse 2, Key Minor)
They parted a pallid, trembling I pair,
"Instigator of the ruin -
"Considerabam ad dexteram, et videbam; et non erat qui cognosceret me
"Heu mihi, quia incolatus meus prolongatus est! Habitavi cum
"Percussus sum sicut foenum, et aruit cor meum."
(Southampton Docks: October, 1899)
(E. L G.)
I hear the bell-rope sawing,
'Twere sweet to have a comrade here,
They sing their dearest songs -
(Southampton Docks: October, 1899)
You were here at his young beginning,
"O England, may God punish thee!"
I never cared for Life: Life cared for me,
I can see the towers
"The house is bleak and cold
At nine in the morning there passed a church,
An hour before the dawn,
If grief come early
A day is drawing to its fall
For Life I had never cared greatly,
These market-dames, mid-aged, with lips thin-drawn,
Here are the tracks upon the sand
At last I entered a long dark gallery,
William Dewy, Tranter Reuben, Farmer Ledlow late at plough,
I thought and thought of thy crass clanging town
Child, were I king, I'd yield my royal rule,
(March, 1887)
(A Memory Of Christiana C-)
I saw him steal the light away
I towered far, and lo! I stood within
Sweet cyder is a great thing,
I enter a daisy-and-buttercup land,
Had you wept; had you but neared me with a frail uncertain ray,
If but some vengeful god would call to me
"Are you awake,
At last I put off love,
There was a glorious time
In a heavy time I dogged myself
This after-sunset is a sight for seeing,
I should not have shown in the flesh,
No use hoping, or feeling vext,
For A. W. B.
"Secretum meum mihi"
As some bland soul, to whom a debtor says
'Twas a death-bed summons, and forth I went
I lingered through the night to break of day,
(In - Church)
I met her, as we had privily planned,
Upon a noon I pilgrimed through
Upon a poet's page I wrote
When I looked up at my love-birds
Con the dead page as 'twere live love: press on!
That love's dull smart distressed my heart
I sang that song on Sunday,
Dear, think not that they will forget you:
I am the family face;
[He travels southward, and looks around;]
I come across from Mellstock while the moon wastes weaker
At the shiver of morning, a little before the false dawn,
How great my grief, my joys how few,
I found her out there
I knew a lady when the days
I look in her face and say,
I look into my glass,
I looked up from my writing,
I met a man when night was nigh,
I need not go
(She, alone)
I rose up as my custom is
I said and sang her excellence:
I said to Love,
I say, "I'll seek her side
I sometimes think as here I sit
I thought, my Heart, that you had healed
I travel as a phantom now,
I was not he the man
I was the midmost of my world
I worked no wile to meet you,
If it's ever spring again,
If you had known
She saw herself a lady
These people have not heard your name;
The years have gathered grayly
On a morning sick as the day of doom
That whisper takes the voice
In the middle of the night
Plunging and labouring on in a tide of visions,
Her house looked cold from the foggy lea,
"What do you see in that time-touched stone,
A plain tilt-bonnet on her head
(M. H.)
That was once her casement,
I told her when I left one day
(April, 1887)
"Man, you too, aren't you, one of these rough followers of the criminal?
"Qui deridetur ab amico suo sicut ego." - JOB.
I lay in my bed and fiddled
In the vaulted way, where the passage turned
"Would that I'd not drawn breath here!" some one said,
In vision I roamed the flashing Firmament,
What curious things we said,
"It never looks like summer here
On Its Seizure By The English Under Allenby, September 1918
When the spring comes round, and a certain day
"The very last time I ever was here," he said,
Sing; how 'a would sing!
I sat. It all was past;
How she would have loved
Pet was never mourned as you,
- In Gibbon's Old Garden: 11-12 P.M. June 27, 1897
(Minor Key)
Rambling I looked for an old abode
Spoken by Miss ADA REHAN at the Lyceum Theatre, July 23, 1890, at a performance on behalf of Lady Jeune's Holiday Fund for City Children.
Show me again the time
A Memory Of A Sister
Lonely her fate was,
Is it worth while, dear, now,
But don't you know it, my dear,
I play my sweet old airs -
The train draws forth from the station-yard,
When the hamlet hailed a birth
'Tis May morning,
"O memory, where is now my youth,
What of the faith and fire within us
To M. H.
In the third-class seat sat the journeying boy,
I busied myself to find a sure
No more summer for Molly and me;
That mirror
In five-score summers! All new eyes,
"Alive?" And I leapt in my wonder,
My spirit will not haunt the mound
When I look forth at dawning, pool,
There was a stunted handpost just on the crest,
We stood by a pond that winter day,
"I have finished another year," said God,
When the wasting embers redden the chimney-breast,
To an old air
Often when warring for he wist not what,
"What's the good of going to Ridgeway,
I know not how it may be with others
When your soft welcomings were said,
Whence comes Solace? - Not from seeing
I could hear a gown-skirt rustling
I idly cut a parsley stalk,
Late on Christmas Eve, in the street alone,
When a night in November
I glimpsed a woman's muslined form
Reticulations creep upon the slack stream's face
I dreamt that people from the Land of Chimes
We kissed at the barrier; and passing through
The rain imprinted the step's wet shine
We never sang together
The trees fret fitfully and twist,
When I am in hell or some such place,
(M. H. 1772-1857)
A Reminiscence Of The War
The swallows flew in the curves of an eight
Yea, as I sit here, crutched, and cricked, and bent,
No; no;
I went by footpath and by stile
"Why do you sit, O pale thin man,
Nobody says: Ah, that is the place
Snow-bound in woodland, a mournful word,
What of the faith and fire within us
Clouds spout upon her
Yes; since she knows not need,
I paused to read a letter of hers
Regret not me;
Though I waste watches framing words to fetter
Who, then, was Cestius,
(April, 1887)
I sat in the Muses' Hall at the mid of the day,
(April, 1887)
Why didn't you say you was promised, Rose-Ann?
"The king and the queen will stand to the child;
(August 1813)
"Thou shalt be - Nothing." - OMAR KHAYYAM.
The kettle descants in a cozy drone,
"And now to God the Father," he ends,
"Sixpence a week," says the girl to her lover,
"Would it had been the man of our wish!"
"My bride is not coming, alas!" says the groom,
They sit and smoke on the esplanade,
"You see those mothers squabbling there?"
"My stick!" he says, and turns in the lane
He enters, and mute on the edge of a chair
"O that mastering tune?" And up in the bed
"But hear. If you stay, and the child be born,
"I stood at the back of the shop, my dear,
"I'll tell being past all praying for -
They stand confronting, the coffin between,
"O lonely workman, standing there
We are always saying
Through snowy woods and shady
Along the way
Here goes a man of seventy-four,
They bear him to his resting-place -
She charged me with having said this and that
She did not turn,
There was a time in former years -
I have come to the church and chancel,
"Did you see something within the house
I was sitting,
When you shall see me in the toils of Time,
Perhaps, long hence, when I have passed away,
I will be faithful to thee; aye, I will!
This love puts all humanity from me;
(The neighbourhood of Leghorn: March, 1887)
Close up the casement, draw the blind,
So there sat they,
Said the red-cloaked crone
Sitting on the bridge
Something tapped on the pane of my room
I scanned her picture dreaming,
O sweet To-morrow! -
"It is not death that harrows us," they lipped,
Slip back, Time!
"No smoke spreads out of this chimney-pot,
When friendly summer calls again,
"Cogitavi vias meas"
(Inventor of the "Perpendicular" Style of Gothic Architecture)
When the walls were red
They came, the brothers, and took two chairs
I think of the slope where the rabbits fed,
Sing, Ballad-singer, raise a hearty tune;
They crush together - a rustling heap of flesh -
O do not praise my beauty more,
To An Unknowing God
So zestfully canst thou sing?
That no man schemed it is my hope -
Bother Bulleys, let us sing
The sun had wheeled from Grey's to Dammer's Crest,
Within a churchyard, on a recent grave,
"Men know but little more than we,
While he was here in breath and bone,
Out of the past there rises a week -
I've been thinking it through, as I play here to-night, to play never again,
Why do you harbour that great cheval-glass
You say, O Sage, when weather-checked,
Sir Nameless, once of Athelhall, declared:
That morning when I trod the town
"Awake! I'm off to cities far away,"
He often would ask us
"[Greek text which cannot be reproduced]"
Whose child is this they bring
"A spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up."
It is dark as a cave,
Fili hominis, ecce ego tollo a te desiderabile oculorum tuorom in plaga. EZECH. xxiv. 16.
(Southampton Docks: October, 1899)
(The following lines are partly made up, partly remembered from a Wessex folk-rhyme)
How it came to an end!
Yes; we'll wed, my little fay,
A forward rush by the lamp in the gloom,
(Lines on the loss of the "Titanic")
At Westminster, hid from the light of day,
To Jenny came a gentle youth
I leant upon a coppice gate
Here is your parents' dwelling with its curtained windows telling
The dead woman lay in her first night's grave,
They hail me as one living,
I plodded to Fairmile Hill-top, where
I opened my shutter at sunrise,
I wandered to a crude coast
"It was not you I came to please,
Rain on the windows, creaking doors,
"Whenever you dress me dolls, mammy,
I am laughing by the brook with her,
A dream of mine flew over the mead
"I am here to time, you see;
"A woman never agreed to it!" said my knowing friend to me.
Indulge no more may we
He saw the portrait of his enemy, offered
If ever joy leave
How was this I did not see
One without looks in to-night
The fiddler knows what's brewing
It pleased her to step in front and sit
They had long met o' Zundays her true love and she -
The sparrow dips in his wheel-rut bath,
Here alone by the logs in my chamber,
Its former green is blue and thin,
We two kept house, the Past and I,
She sped through the door
Why did you give no hint that night
(November 2, 1899)
He does not think that I haunt here nightly:
Something do I see
Gruffly growled the wind on Toller downland broad and bare,
Here we broached the Christmas barrel,
"That is a quiet place -
"Can anything avail
(At A Cathedral Service)
I say, "She was as good as fair,"
And are ye one of Hermitage -
Sir John was entombed, and the crypt was closed, and she,
"And I saw the figure and visage of Madness seeking for a home."
I longed to love a full-boughed beech
(To the Editor)
It was a wet wan hour in spring,
SCENE. - A sad-coloured landscape, Waddon Vale
Words from the mirror softly pass
Why should this flower delay so long
"I am playing my oldest tunes," declared she,
(Oct. 11, 1886)
The kiss had been given and taken,
"O passenger, pray list and catch
Creak, little wood thing, creak,
Some say the spot is banned; that the pillar Cross-and-Hand
I hear that maiden still
"Had he and I but met
At a lonely cross where bye-roads met
There was merry-making
There it stands, though alas, what a little of her
I reach the marble-streeted town,
Nobody took any notice of her as she stood on the causey kerb,
I found me in a great surging space,
"Why do you weep there, O sweet lady,
On Yell'Ham Hill
Under a daisied bank
The grey gaunt days dividing us in twain
(On Egdon Heath)
When mid-autumn's moan shook the night-time,
Lifelong to be
This, then, is the grave of my son,
He paused on the sill of a door ajar
The cold moon hangs to the sky by its horn,
"More than half my life long
When the cloud shut down on the morning shine,
I have seen her in gowns the brightest,
'Twas to greet the new rector I called I here,
"Why are you so bent down before your time,
Forty springs back, I recall,
I wanted to marry, but father said, "No -
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
L. H. Recalls Her Romance
It was but a little thing,
"Si le marechal Grouchy avait ete rejoint par l'officier que Napoleon lui avait expedie la veille a dix heures du soir, toute question eut disparu. Mais cet officier n'etait point parvenu a sa destination, ainsi que le marechal n'a cesse de l'affirme
An Incident Of 1883
The flame crept up the portrait line by line
"O my pretty pink frock,
I walked in loamy Wessex lanes, afar
Shall we conceal the Case, or tell it -
They are not those who used to feed us
I do not see the hills around,
An Experience Of The Mellstock Quire
Between the folding sea-downs,
Let us off and search, and find a place
We shall see her no more
While I watch the Christmas blaze
Since Reverend Doctors now declare
As I lay awake at night-time
'Twas just at gnat and cobweb-time,
I determined to find out whose it was -
When up aloft
By Rome's dim relics there walks a man,
The Roman Road runs straight and bare
"O 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
(Circa 182-)
"O whence do you come,
"If ever I walk to church to wed,
(With thoughts of Leslie Stephen)
I missed one night, but the next I went;
Here is the ancient floor,
A bird bills the selfsame song,
When Lawyers strive to heal a breach,
The dark was thick. A boy he seemed at that time
I went by the Druid stone
Little head against my shoulder,
There was a singing woman
When wilt thou wake, O Mother, wake and see -
(An Incident Of Froom Valley)
It was when
"I mean to build a hall anon,
Down Wessex way, when spring's a-shine,
This statue of Liberty, busy man,
"I hear the piano playing
O my trade it is the rarest one,
(Student's Love-song)
I drew the letter out, while gleamed
The sun threw down a radiant spot
Ah - it's the skeleton of a lady's sunshade,
In his early days he was quite surprised
"O he's suffering maybe dying and I not there to aid,
Change and chancefulness in my flowering youthtime,
The sun said, watching my watering-pot
I have done all I could
"When the air was damp
In the heart of night,
There were two youths of equal age,
Just at the corner of the wall
Smoker's Club-Story
I rose at night, and visited
Warm yellowy-green
Gilbert had sailed to India's shore,
Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Forty Augusts - aye, and several more - ago,
You did not walk with me
There is nobody on the road
Tabitha dressed for her wedding:-
I wayed by star and planet shine
A very West-of-Wessex girl,
My father was the whipper-in, -
Why does she turn in that shy soft way
By Mellstock Lodge and Avenue
The wind blew words along the skies,
I travel on by barren farms,
'Love, while you were away there came to me -
A stranger, I threaded sunken-hearted
"Why do you stand in the dripping rye,
"This is a brightsome blaze you've lit good friend, to-night!"
"See, here's the workbox, little wife,
I climbed to the crest,
How do you know that the pilgrim track
When he lit the candles there,
"These Gothic windows, how they wear me out
I saw him pass as the new day dawned,
When battles were fought
I travelled to where in her lifetime
At midnight, in the room where he lay dead
Not a line of her writing have I,
Lalage's coming:
Now that my page upcloses, doomed, maybe,
Joyful lady, sing!
Glad old house of lichened stonework,
I read your name when you were strange to me,
Did he who drew her in the years ago -
Ah, child, thou art but half thy darling mother's;
You turn your back, you turn your back,
Sunned in the South, and here to-day;
O life with the sad seared face,
Whether to sally and see thee, girl of my dreams,
Does he want you down there
Show thee as I thought thee
Bright baffling Soul, least capturable of themes,
O sweet sincerity! -
"What have you looked at, Moon,
"It is a foolish thing," said I,
Portion of this yew
"Whenever I plunge my arm, like this,
When, soul in soul reflected,
Down comes the winter rain -
Moments the mightiest pass uncalendared,
"What do you see in Vagg Hollow,
These flowers are I, poor Fanny Hurd,
A baby watched a ford, whereto
(Bournemouth, 1875)
To my native place
There are some heights in Wessex, shaped as if by a kindly hand
What did it mean that noontide, when
When I set out for Lyonnesse,
Where we made the fire,
Dishevelled leaves creep down
Where three roads joined it was green and fair,
"It is sad that so many of worth,
"Who's in the next room? - who?
Why be at pains that I should know
Why did I sketch an upland green,
SCENE. - A wide stretch of fallow ground recently sown with wheat, and frozen to iron hardness. Three large birds walking about thereon, and wistfully eyeing the surface. Wind keen from north-east: sky a dull grey.
It was your way, my dear,
It was what you bore with you, Woman,
Coomb-Firtrees say that Life is a moan,
You were the sort that men forget;
Here by the moorway you returned,
To The Matterhorn
Long have I framed weak phantasies of Thee,