Southampton Docks: October 1899
Here, where Vespasian's legions struck the sands,
And Cendric with the Saxons entered in,
I come across from Mellstock while the moon wastes weaker
To behold where I lived with you for twenty years and more:
The moving sun-shapes on the spray,
The sparkles where the brook was flowing,
I walked in loamy Wessex lanes, afar
From rail-track and from highway, and I heard
In field and farmstead many an ancient word
Of local lineage like "Thu bist," "Er war,"
Under a daisied bank
There stands a rich red ruminating cow,
And hard against her flank
A cotton-hooded milkmaid bends her brow.
I traversed a dominion
Whose spokesmen spake out strong
We two kept house, the Past and I,
The Past and I;
I tended while it hovered nigh,
Leaving me never alone.
I rose up as my custom is
On the eve of All-Souls' day,
And left my grave for an hour or so
To call on those I used to know
I come to interview a Voiceless ghost;
Whither, O whither will its whim now draw me?
Up the cliff, down, till I'm lonely, lost,