Thomas Hardy

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

The Cave of the Unborn


I rose at night and visited
The Cave of the Unborn,
And crowding shapes surrounded me
For tidings of the life to be,
Who long had prayed the silent Head
To speed their advent morn.

Their eyes were lit with artless trust;
Hope thrilled their every tone:
"A place the loveliest, is it not?
A pure delight, a beauty-spot
Where all is gentle, pure and just
And ??violence?? is unknown?"

My heart was anguished for their sake;
I could not frame a word;
But they descried my sunken face
And seemed to read therein, and trace
The news which Pity would not break
Nor Truth leave unaverred.

And as I silently retired
I turned and watched them still:
And they came helter-skelter out,
Driven forward like a rabble rout
Into the world they had so desired,
By the all-immanent Will.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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