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- Wessex Poems and Other Verses - 1/16 -


by Thomas Hardy


Preface The Temporary The All Amabel Hap "In Vision I Roamed" At a Bridal Postponement A Confession to a Friend in Trouble Neutral Tones She Her Initials Her Dilemma Revulsion She, To Him, I. " " II. " " III. " " IV. Ditty The Sergeant's Song Valenciennes San Sebastian The Stranger's Song The Burghers Leipzig The Peasant's Confession The Alarm Her Death and After The Dance at the Phoenix The Casterbridge Captains A Sign-Seeker My Cicely Her Immortality The Ivy-Wife A Meeting with Despair Unknowing Friends Beyond To Outer Nature Thoughts of Phena Middle-Age Enthusiasms In a Wood To a Lady To an Orphan Child Nature's Questioning The Impercipient At An Inn The Slow Nature In a Eweleaze Near Weatherbury ADDITIONS: The Fire at Tranter Sweatley's Heiress and Architect The Two Men Lines "I Look into my Glass"


Of the miscellaneous collection of verse that follows, only four pieces have been published, though many were written long ago, and other partly written. In some few cases the verses were turned into prose and printed as such, it having been unanticipated at that time that they might see the light.

Whenever an ancient and legitimate word of the district, for which there was no equivalent in received English, suggested itself as the most natural, nearest, and often only expression of a thought, it has been made use of, on what seemed good grounds.

The pieces are in a large degree dramatic or personative in conception; and this even where they are not obviously so.

The dates attached to some of the poems do not apply to the rough sketches given in illustration, which have been recently made, and, as may be surmised, are inserted for personal and local reasons rather than for their intrinsic qualities.

T. H. September 1898.


Change and chancefulness in my flowering youthtime, Set me sun by sun near to one unchosen; Wrought us fellow-like, and despite divergence, Friends interlinked us.

"Cherish him can I while the true one forthcome - Come the rich fulfiller of my prevision; Life is roomy yet, and the odds unbounded." So self-communed I.

Thwart my wistful way did a damsel saunter, Fair, the while unformed to be all-eclipsing; "Maiden meet," held I, "till arise my forefelt Wonder of women."

Long a visioned hermitage deep desiring, Tenements uncouth I was fain to house in; "Let such lodging be for a breath-while," thought I, "Soon a more seemly.

"Then, high handiwork will I make my life-deed, Truth and Light outshow; but the ripe time pending, Intermissive aim at the thing sufficeth." Thus I . . . But lo, me!

Mistress, friend, place, aims to be bettered straightway, Bettered not has Fate or my hand's achieving; Sole the showance those of my onward earth-track - Never transcended!


I marked her ruined hues, Her custom-straitened views, And asked, "Can there indwell My Amabel?"

I looked upon her gown, Once rose, now earthen brown; The change was like the knell Of Amabel.

Her step's mechanic ways Had lost the life of May's; Her laugh, once sweet in swell, Spoilt Amabel.

I mused: "Who sings the strain I sang ere warmth did wane? Who thinks its numbers spell His Amabel?" -

Knowing that, though Love cease, Love's race shows undecrease; All find in dorp or dell An Amabel.

- I felt that I could creep To some housetop, and weep, That Time the tyrant fell Ruled Amabel!

I said (the while I sighed That love like ours had died), "Fond things I'll no more tell To Amabel,

"But leave her to her fate, And fling across the gate, 'Till the Last Trump, farewell, O Amabel!'"



If but some vengeful god would call to me From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing, Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy, That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

Then would I bear, and clench myself, and die, Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited; Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.

But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain, And why unblooms the best hope ever sown? - Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain, And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan . . . These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.


Wessex Poems and Other Verses - 1/16

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