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Thomas Hardy

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

Tess's Lament


I

I would that folk forgot me quite,
   Forgot me quite!
I would that I could shrink from sight,
   And no more see the sun.
Would it were time to say farewell,
To claim my nook, to need my knell,
Time for them all to stand and tell
   Of my day's work as done.

II

Ah! dairy where I lived so long,
   I lived so long;
Where I would rise up stanch and strong,
   And lie down hopefully.
'Twas there within the chimney-seat
He watched me to the clock's slow beat -
Loved me, and learnt to call me sweet,
   And whispered words to me.

III

And now he's gone; and now he's gone; . . .
   And now he's gone!
The flowers we potted p'rhaps are thrown
   To rot upon the farm.
And where we had our supper-fire
May now grow nettle, dock, and briar,
And all the place be mould and mire
   So cozy once and warm.

IV

And it was I who did it all,
   Who did it all;
'Twas I who made the blow to fall
   On him who thought no guile.
Well, it is finished--past, and he
Has left me to my misery,
And I must take my Cross on me
   For wronging him awhile.

V

How gay we looked that day we wed,
   That day we wed!
"May joy be with ye!" all o'm said
   A standing by the durn.
I wonder what they say o's now,
And if they know my lot; and how
She feels who milks my favourite cow,
   And takes my place at churn!

VI

It wears me out to think of it,
   To think of it;
I cannot bear my fate as writ,
   I'd have my life unbe;
Would turn my memory to a blot,
Make every relic of me rot,
My doings be as they were not,
   And what they've brought to me!

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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