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Thomas Hardy

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

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"I Said to Love"


I said to Love,
"It is not now as in old days
When men adored thee and thy ways
   All else above;
Named thee the Boy, the Bright, the One
Who spread a heaven beneath the sun,"
   I said to Love.

   I said to him,
"We now know more of thee than then;
We were but weak in judgment when,
   With hearts abrim,
We clamoured thee that thou would'st please
Inflict on us thine agonies,"
   I said to him.

   I said to Love,
"Thou art not young, thou art not fair,
No faery darts, no cherub air,
   Nor swan, nor dove
Are thine; but features pitiless,
And iron daggers of distress,"
   I said to Love.

   "Depart then, Love! . . .
- Man's race shall end, dost threaten thou?
The age to come the man of now
   Know nothing of? -
We fear not such a threat from thee;
We are too old in apathy!
Mankind shall cease.--So let it be,"
   I said to Love.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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  • Valentin Savin (6/2/2014 1:08:00 PM)

    Happy birthday, Thomas! I love your poems and in particular this one:
    We are too old in apathy!
    Mankind shall cease.- So let it be,
    I said to Love. (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (1/12/2014 9:53:00 AM)

    A Very interesting poem. Poet has definitely grown out of young love. But in his exhaustion the end of love would be the end of Humanity is an idea he is willing to surrender to. May be Test tube babies will save the world for him! (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (1/12/2014 7:06:00 AM)

    .......not sure but sounds like he gave up on love
    i like this stanza
    ~I said to Love,
    It is not now as in old days
    When men adored thee and thy ways
    All else above;
    Named thee the Boy, the Bright, the One
    Who spread a heaven beneath the sun,
    I said to Love. ~ (Report) Reply

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (1/12/2014 2:21:00 AM)

    And love said to the defiant man
    Save your logic from me if you can
    I have ways and means to get you
    Break your heart and then feel blue........

    I welcome all ye poets reading this to my page too (Report) Reply

  • Ed Nigma (1/12/2014 12:18:00 AM)

    Sounds like a man who at one time had hope for humanity but the more he sees and grows in this temporary construct with time his faith in mankind weakens. He basically says screw it let them kill themselves off because these savages are too far gone to ever recover and even if there is but a few they wont survive. I can relate to this poem very much. It gets a 10 from me!

    Allan Gerard~ (Report) Reply

  • A V (11/24/2013 1:06:00 AM)

    Reading this poem has evoked two interpretations in my mind.

    # One will be clear if you just see love as romantic love. The poet can be seen giving a retort to love that has set man blind in his youth. Even though it is all agony, it's rosiness attracted man whose heart was abrim. But in his wiser state, the man has realised that love is no youngster, but just a charmer. And thus rejects love.

    # Two. On a different note, which I believe is more relevant, the poet is reflecting upon the loss of human faith in love and kindness. He says that the modern man sees the ancients as week. The modern man is too old in apathy! . He is walking to his own demise. All the love is lost and mankind is coming to an end. Personified Love is asked to let it be! - This reading, I believe, reflects the conditions under which Hardy wrote his poems much more sincerely than the other one.

    ~av (Report) Reply

  • Joey Valenzuela (1/12/2010 9:50:00 PM)

    i agree with Kevin....

    this is like about a broken hearted Thomas.....and that he hates LOVE.... (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (1/12/2010 2:30:00 PM)

    'Apostrophe to Eros' might well sum up Hardy's use of personification and rhythm to stress that irony is not necessary nor is 'a temporary personal setback' the sole motivation for the poem's creation. The speaker is NOT Thomas Hardy, but is the persona through whom he speaks. Why not read and appreciate Hardy's skill in writing such a poem that expresses a universal human condition?

    The opening stanza alludes to the ancient myth of Cupid, always depicted as a boy with bow and arrow who released arrows of love that 'spread a heaven beneath the sun'! Second stanza cautions Eros that nowadays we earthlings know better than to surrender to your wiles. We were babes in arms then! Look at us today, all full of irony! Third stanza cites the imposter who disguises himself as a gentle boy to be a monster that tears the heart out of its victims! Final stanza orders the false god who threatens destruction to depart forever - the speaker is too old and cynical (and full of irony) to fall for such guff! So we die! So what! (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (1/12/2010 5:45:00 AM)

    We must take with a degree of irony the poets assumption to speak for all humanity on the basis of what must be a personal and, probably, temporary personal setback on the road of love. Hardy is not the only one to have cried out: 'To Hell with love', when a relationship breaks up, it eases the pain but is not sincerely meant. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (1/12/2010 1:31:00 AM)

    Old things are different when compared with the things to come in the future! So, in love also such old things cannot be prolonged is realistic in utterance! Hardy is a practical man and his views are down to earth type! Pessimism prevails here also as is in his novels noted best by all! (Report) Reply

  • Eddie Loughran (1/12/2007 4:40:00 AM)

    I don't like Hardy's books, and I don't normally rate his poems much better,
    but this has some very good points.
    The choice of words and the strange alliteration.
    A minor work of art!

    He has tried to write a poem! Not just thrown ideas together. (Report) Reply

  • Faith Elizabeth Brigham (1/12/2006 5:24:00 AM)

    It doesn't get any better than this! A poem so powerful and expertly penned it makes your mouth gape in awe. I love this poem. (Report) Reply

Read all 16 comments »

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