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Thomas Hardy

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

The Lacking Sense Scene.--A sad-coloured landscape, Waddon Vale


I

"O Time, whence comes the Mother's moody look amid her labours,
   As of one who all unwittingly has wounded where she loves?
   Why weaves she not her world-webs to according lutes and tabors,
With nevermore this too remorseful air upon her face,
   As of angel fallen from grace?"

II

- "Her look is but her story: construe not its symbols keenly:
   In her wonderworks yea surely has she wounded where she loves.
   The sense of ills misdealt for blisses blanks the mien most
queenly,
Self-smitings kill self-joys; and everywhere beneath the sun
   Such deeds her hands have done."

III

- "And how explains thy Ancient Mind her crimes upon her creatures,
   These fallings from her fair beginnings, woundings where she
loves,
   Into her would-be perfect motions, modes, effects, and features
Admitting cramps, black humours, wan decay, and baleful blights,
   Distress into delights?"

IV

- "Ah! know'st thou not her secret yet, her vainly veiled deficience,
   Whence it comes that all unwittingly she wounds the lives she
loves?
   That sightless are those orbs of hers?--which bar to her
omniscience
Brings those fearful unfulfilments, that red ravage through her zones
   Whereat all creation groans.

V

"She whispers it in each pathetic strenuous slow endeavour,
   When in mothering she unwittingly sets wounds on what she loves;
   Yet her primal doom pursues her, faultful, fatal is she ever;
Though so deft and nigh to vision is her facile finger-touch
   That the seers marvel much.

VI

"Deal, then, her groping skill no scorn, no note of malediction;
   Not long on thee will press the hand that hurts the lives it
loves;
   And while she dares dead-reckoning on, in darkness of affliction,
Assist her where thy creaturely dependence can or may,
   For thou art of her clay."

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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