Thomas Hardy

(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928 / Dorchester / England)

Ditty


(E. L. G.)

BENEATH a knap where flown
Nestlings play,
Within walls of weathered stone,
Far away
From the files of formal houses,
By the bough the firstling browses,
Lives a Sweet: no merchants meet,
No man barters, no man sells
Where she dwells.

Upon that fabric fair
"Here is she!"
Seems written everywhere
Unto me.
But to friends and nodding neighbors,
Fellow wights in lot and labors,
Who descry the times as I,
No such lucid legend tells
Where she dwells.

Should I lapse to what I was
In days by--
(Such cannot be, but because
Some loves die
Let me feign it)--none would notice
That where she I know by rote is
Spread a strange and withering change,
Like a drying of the wells
Where she dwells.

To feel I might have kissed--
Loved as true--
Otherwhere, nor Mine have missed
My life through,
Had I never wandered near her,
Is a smart severe--severer
In the thought that she is nought,
Even as I, beyond the dells
Where she dwells.

And Devotion droops her glance
To recall
What bond-servants of Chance
We are all.
I but found her in that, going
On my errant path unknowing,
I did not out-skirt the spot
That no spot on earth excels--
Where she dwells!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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