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Thomas Hardy

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

Her Late Husband (King's-Hintock, 182-.)


"No--not where I shall make my own;
   But dig his grave just by
The woman's with the initialed stone -
   As near as he can lie -
After whose death he seemed to ail,
   Though none considered why.

"And when I also claim a nook,
   And your feet tread me in,
Bestow me, under my old name,
   Among my kith and kin,
That strangers gazing may not dream
   I did a husband win."

"Widow, your wish shall be obeyed;
   Though, thought I, certainly
You'd lay him where your folk are laid,
   And your grave, too, will be,
As custom hath it; you to right,
   And on the left hand he."

"Aye, sexton; such the Hintock rule,
   And none has said it nay;
But now it haps a native here
   Eschews that ancient way . . .
And it may be, some Christmas night,
   When angels walk, they'll say:

"'O strange interment! Civilized lands
   Afford few types thereof;
Here is a man who takes his rest
   Beside his very Love,
Beside the one who was his wife
   In our sight up above!'"

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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