To An Unborn Pauper Child Poem by Thomas Hardy

To An Unborn Pauper Child

Rating: 3.9

Breathe not, hid Heart: cease silently,
And though thy birth-hour beckons thee,
Sleep the long sleep:
The Doomsters heap
Travails and teens around us here,
And Time-Wraiths turn our songsingings to fear.

Hark, how the peoples surge and sigh,
And laughters fail, and greetings die;
Hopes dwindle; yea,
Faiths waste away,
Affections and enthusiasms numb:
Thou canst not mend these things if thou dost come.

Had I the ear of wombed souls
Ere their terrestrial chart unrolls,
And thou wert free
To cease, or be,
Then would I tell thee all I know,
And put it to thee: Wilt thou take Life so?

Vain vow! No hint of mine may hence
To theeward fly: to thy locked sense
Explain none can
Life's pending plan:
Thou wilt thy ignorant entry make
Though skies spout fire and blood and nations quake.

Fain would I, dear, find some shut plot
Of earth's wide wold for thee, where not
One tear, one qualm,
Should break the calm.
But I am weak as thou and bare;
No man can change the common lot to rare.

Must come and bide. And such are we --
Unreasoning, sanguine, visionary --
That I can hope
Health, love, friends, scope
In full for thee; can dream thou'lt find
Joys seldom yet attained by humankind!

Bob Taylor 29 December 2019

I searched in my copy of Hardy: poems selected by David Wright- Penguin Poetry library, but it wasn't to be found. Wonder why. Of course it's quoted in The Doomsters, which I finished reading this morning.

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Patrick 15 February 2018

It; s such a majestic poem, and, after reading it aloud myself- having done so many times in the past, I looked forward to hearing the resonant tones of some great or at least an impassioned orator declaim the famous lines. Until I pushed play and the alien, stuttering, inhuman utterance of a computer voice proceeded to spurt out the words. Thanks for having poems for free. Sorry you have no qualified human to read them.

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Cannon John 13 May 2017

This is a great poem. Note how it is used by Ross MacDonald in his The Doomsters. I encountered this poem in that novel and have revisited it with regularity.

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Daphne Grant 20 March 2006

A man may wait many generations to find success, the average child is born to spend it's days in poverty, yet life itself e en daylight simple joys must make life worth living. Thought on this peom. Daphne

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Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

Dorchester / England
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