Thomas Hardy

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

The Tenant-For-Life


The sun said, watching my watering-pot
   "Some morn you'll pass away;
These flowers and plants I parch up hot -
   Who'll water them that day?

"Those banks and beds whose shape your eye
   Has planned in line so true,
New hands will change, unreasoning why
   Such shape seemed best to you.

"Within your house will strangers sit,
   And wonder how first it came;
They'll talk of their schemes for improving it,
   And will not mention your name.

"They'll care not how, or when, or at what
   You sighed, laughed, suffered here,
Though you feel more in an hour of the spot
   Than they will feel in a year

"As I look on at you here, now,
   Shall I look on at these;
But as to our old times, avow
   No knowledge--hold my peace! . . .

"O friend, it matters not, I say;
   Bethink ye, I have shined
On nobler ones than you, and they
   Are dead men out of mind!"

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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