Enjoy this? Share it!

643 Works of Thomas Hardy

Search Amazon for related books, downloads and more Thomas Hardy

Among the few features of agricultural England which retain an appearance but little modified by the lapse of centuries, may be reckoned the high, grassy and furzy downs, coombs, or ewe-leases, as they are indifferently called, that fill a large area of certain counties in the south and south-west. If any mark of human occupation […]

Squire Petrick’s Lady

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

(From A Group of Noble Dames) Folk who are at all acquainted with the traditions of Stapleford Park will not need to be told that in the middle of the last century it was owned by that trump of mortgagees, Timothy Petrick, whose skill in gaining possession of fair estates by granting sums of money […]

We had been talking of the Georgian glories of our old-fashioned watering- place, which now, with its substantial russet-red and dun brick buildings in the style of the year eighteen hundred, looks like one side of a Soho or Bloomsbury Street transported to the shore, and draws a smile from the modern tourist who has […]

At one’s every step forward it rises higher against the south sky, with an obtrusive personality that compels the senses to regard it and consider. The eyes may bend in another direction, but never without the consciousness of its heavy, high-shouldered presence at its point of vantage. Across the intervening levels the gale races in […]

The genial Justice of the Peace–now, alas, no more–who made himself responsible for the facts of this story, used to begin in the good old- fashioned way with a bright moonlight night and a mysterious figure, an excellent stroke for an opening, even to this day, if well followed up. The Christmas moon (he would […]

Enter A Dragoon

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

I lately had a melancholy experience (said the gentleman who is answerable for the truth of this story). It was that of going over a doomed house with whose outside aspect I had long been familiar–a house, that is, which by reason of age and dilapidation was to be pulled down during the following week. […]

I never pass through Chalk-Newton without turning to regard the neighbouring upland, at a point where a lane crosses the lone straight highway dividing this from the next parish; a sight which does not fail to recall the event that once happened there; and, though it may seem superfluous, at this date, to disinter more […]

Alicia’s Diary

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I. SHE MISSES HER SISTER July 7.–I wander about the house in a mood of unutterable sadness, for my dear sister Caroline has left home to-day with my mother, and I shall not see them again for several weeks. They have accepted a long-standing invitation to visit some old friends of ours, the Marlets, […]

A Changed Man

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I The person who, next to the actors themselves, chanced to know most of their story, lived just below ‘Top o’ Town’ (as the spot was called) in an old substantially-built house, distinguished among its neighbours by having an oriel window on the first floor, whence could be obtained a raking view of the […]

Interlopers at the Knap

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I The north road from Casterbridge is tedious and lonely, especially in winter-time. Along a part of its course it connects with Long-Ash Lane, a monotonous track without a village or hamlet for many miles, and with very seldom a turning. Unapprized wayfarers who are too old, or too young, or in other respects […]

The Withered Arm

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I. A LORN MILKMAID It was an eighty-cow dairy, and the troop of milkers, regular and supernumerary, were all at work; for, though the time of year was as yet but early April, the feed lay entirely in water-meadows, and the cows were ‘in full pail.’ The hour was about six in the evening, […]

An Imaginative Woman

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

When William Marchmill had finished his inquiries for lodgings at a well- known watering-place in Upper Wessex, he returned to the hotel to find his wife. She, with the children, had rambled along the shore, and Marchmill followed in the direction indicated by the military-looking hall-porter ‘By Jove, how far you’ve gone! I am quite […]

The Honourable Laura

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

By the Spark It was a cold and gloomy Christmas Eve. The mass of cloud overhead was almost impervious to such daylight as still lingered on; the snow lay several inches deep upon the ground, and the slanting downfall which still went on threatened to considerably increase its thickness before the morning. The Prospect Hotel, […]

The Lady Penelope

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

By the Man of Family In going out of Casterbridge by the low-lying road which eventually conducts to the town of Ivell, you see on the right hand an ivied manor- house, flanked by battlemented towers, and more than usually distinguished by the size of its many mullioned windows. Though still of good capacity, the […]

By the Quiet Gentleman Some fifty years ago, the then Duke of Hamptonshire, fifth of that title, was incontestibly the head man in his county, and particularly in the neighbourhood of Batton. He came of the ancient and loyal family of Saxelbye, which, before its ennoblement, had numbered many knightly and ecclesiastical celebrities in its […]

The Lady Icenway

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

By the Churchwarden In the reign of His Most Excellent Majesty King George the Third, Defender of the Faith and of the American Colonies, there lived in ‘a faire maner-place’ (so Leland called it in his day, as I have been told), in one o’ the greenest bits of woodland between Bristol and the city […]

Anna, Lady Baxby

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

By the Colonel It was in the time of the great Civil War–if I should not rather, as a loyal subject, call it, with Clarendon, the Great Rebellion. It was, I say, at that unhappy period of our history, that towards the autumn of a particular year, the Parliament forces sat down before Sherton Castle […]

Lady Mottisfont

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

By the Sentimental Member Of all the romantic towns in Wessex, Wintoncester is probably the most convenient for meditative people to live in; since there you have a cathedral with a nave so long that it affords space in which to walk and summon your remoter moods without continually turning on your heel, or seeming […]

By the Rural Dean I would have you know, then, that a great many years ago there lived in a classical mansion with which I used to be familiar, standing not a hundred miles from the city of Melchester, a lady whose personal charms were so rare and unparalleled that she was courted, flattered, and […]

By the Old Surgeon It was apparently an idea, rather than a passion, that inspired Lord Uplandtowers’ resolve to win her. Nobody ever knew when he formed it, or whence he got his assurance of success in the face of her manifest dislike of him. Possibly not until after that first important act of her […]

By The Local Historian King’s-Hintock Court (said the narrator, turning over his memoranda for reference)–King’s-Hintock Court is, as we know, one of the most imposing of the mansions that overlook our beautiful Blackmoor or Blakemore Vale. On the particular occasion of which I have to speak this building stood, as it had often stood before, […]

The widely discussed possibility of an invasion of England through a Channel tunnel has more than once recalled old Solomon Selby’s story to my mind. The occasion on which I numbered myself among his audience was one evening when he was sitting in the yawning chimney-corner of the inn-kitchen, with some others who had gathered […]

CHAPTER I Here stretch the downs, high and breezy and green, absolutely unchanged since those eventful days. A plough has never disturbed the turf, and the sod that was uppermost then is uppermost now. Here stood the camp; here are distinct traces of the banks thrown up for the horses of the cavalry, and spots […]

‘Talking of Exhibitions, World’s Fairs, and what not,’ said the old gentleman, ‘I would not go round the corner to see a dozen of them nowadays. The only exhibition that ever made, or ever will make, any impression upon my imagination was the first of the series, the parent of them all, and now a […]

To Please His Wife

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I The interior of St. James’s Church, in Havenpool Town, was slowly darkening under the close clouds of a winter afternoon. It was Sunday: service had just ended, the face of the parson in the pulpit was buried in his hands, and the congregation, with a cheerful sigh of release, were rising from their […]

On The Western Circuit

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I The man who played the disturbing part in the two quiet lives hereafter depicted–no great man, in any sense, by the way–first had knowledge of them on an October evening, in the city of Melchester. He had been standing in the Close, vainly endeavouring to gain amid the darkness a glimpse of the […]

CHAPTER I The shouts of the village-boys came in at the window, accompanied by broken laughter from loungers at the inn-door; but the brothers Halborough worked on. They were sitting in a bedroom of the master-millwright’s house, engaged in the untutored reading of Greek and Latin. It was no tale of Homeric blows and knocks, […]

For Conscience’ Sake

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I Whether the utilitarian or the intuitive theory of the moral sense be upheld, it is beyond question that there are a few subtle-souled persons with whom the absolute gratuitousness of an act of reparation is an inducement to perform it; while exhortation as to its necessity would breed excuses for leaving it undone. […]

The Son’s Veto

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I To the eyes of a man viewing it from behind, the nut-brown hair was a wonder and a mystery. Under the black beaver hat, surmounted by its tuft of black feathers, the long locks, braided and twisted and coiled like the rushes of a basket, composed a rare, if somewhat barbaric, example of […]

Fellow-Townsmen

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I The shepherd on the east hill could shout out lambing intelligence to the shepherd on the west hill, over the intervening town chimneys, without great inconvenience to his voice, so nearly did the steep pastures encroach upon the burghers’ backyards. And at night it was possible to stand in the very midst of […]

The Distracted Preacher

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I–HOW HIS COLD WAS CURED Something delayed the arrival of the Wesleyan minister, and a young man came temporarily in his stead. It was on the thirteenth of January 183- that Mr. Stockdale, the young man in question, made his humble entry into the village, unknown, and almost unseen. But when those of the […]

The Waiting Supper

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I Whoever had perceived the yeoman standing on Squire Everard’s lawn in the dusk of that October evening fifty years ago, might have said at first sight that he was loitering there from idle curiosity. For a large five- light window of the manor-house in front of him was unshuttered and uncurtained, so that […]

It is a Saturday afternoon of blue and yellow autumn time, and the scene is the High Street of a well-known market-town. A large carrier’s van stands in the quadrangular fore-court of the White Hart Inn, upon the sides of its spacious tilt being painted, in weather-beaten letters: ‘Burthen, Carrier to Longpuddle.’ These vans, so […]

A Mere Interlude

Story type: Literature

Read this story.

CHAPTER I The traveller in school-books, who vouched in dryest tones for the fidelity to fact of the following narrative, used to add a ring of truth to it by opening with a nicety of criticism on the heroine’s personality. People were wrong, he declared, when they surmised that Baptista Trewthen was a young woman […]

According to the kinsman who told me the story, Christopher Swetman’s house, on the outskirts of King’s-Hintock village, was in those days larger and better kept than when, many years later, it was sold to the lord of the manor adjoining; after having been in the Swetman family, as one may say, since the Conquest. […]

In the earliest and mustiest volume of the Havenpool marriage registers (said the thin-faced gentleman) this entry may still be read by any one curious enough to decipher the crabbed handwriting of the date. I took a copy of it when I was last there; and it runs thus (he had opened his pocket-book, and […]

To the moon

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“What have you looked at, Moon, In your time, Now long past your prime?” “O, I have looked at, often looked at Sweet, sublime, Sore things, shudderful, night and noon In my time.” “What have you mused on, Moon, In your day, So aloof, so far away?” “O, I have mused on, often mused on […]

Molly Gone

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

No more summer for Molly and me; There is snow on the tree, And the blackbirds plump large as the rooks are, almost, And the water is hard Where they used to dip bills at the dawn ere her figure was lost To these coasts, now my prison close-barred. No more planting by Molly and […]

A Backward Spring

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The trees are afraid to put forth buds, And there is timidity in the grass; The plots lie gray where gouged by spuds, And whether next week will pass Free of sly sour winds is the fret of each bush Of barberry waiting to bloom. Yet the snowdrop’s face betrays no gloom, And the primrose […]

This after-sunset is a sight for seeing, Cliff-heads of craggy cloud surrounding it. –And dwell you in that glory-show? You may; for there are strange strange things in being, Stranger than I know. Yet if that chasm of splendour claim your presence Which glows between the ash cloud and the dun, How changed must be […]

The Dolls

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Whenever you dress me dolls, mammy, Why do you dress them so, And make them gallant soldiers, When never a one I know; And not as gentle ladies With frills and frocks and curls, As people dress the dollies Of other little girls?” Ah–why did she not answer:- “Because your mammy’s heed Is always gallant […]

I travel on by barren farms, And gulls glint out like silver flecks Against a cloud that speaks of wrecks, And bellies down with black alarms. I say: “Thus from my lady’s arms I go; those arms I love the best!” The wind replies from dip and rise, “Nay; toward her arms thou journeyest.” A […]

They sing their dearest songs – He, she, all of them–yea, Treble and tenor and bass, And one to play; With the candles mooning each face . . . Ah, no; the years O! How the sick leaves reel down in throngs! They clear the creeping moss – Elders and juniors–aye, Making the pathways neat […]

“That same first fiddler who leads the orchestra to-night Here fiddled four decades of years ago; He bears the same babe-like smile of self-centred delight, Same trinket on watch-chain, same ring on the hand with the bow. “But his face, if regarded, is woefully wanner, and drier, And his once dark beard has grown straggling […]

The Ballet

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

They crush together–a rustling heap of flesh – Of more than flesh, a heap of souls; and then They part, enmesh, And crush together again, Like the pink petals of a too sanguine rose Frightened shut just when it blows. Though all alike in their tinsel livery, And indistinguishable at a sweeping glance, They muster, […]

The Five Students

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The sparrow dips in his wheel-rut bath, The sun grows passionate-eyed, And boils the dew to smoke by the paddock-path; As strenuously we stride, – Five of us; dark He, fair He, dark She, fair She, I, All beating by. The air is shaken, the high-road hot, Shadowless swoons the day, The greens are sobered […]

Within a churchyard, on a recent grave, I saw a little cage That jailed a goldfinch. All was silence save Its hops from stage to stage. There was inquiry in its wistful eye, And once it tried to sing; Of him or her who placed it there, and why, No one knew anything.

The Sunshade

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Ah–it’s the skeleton of a lady’s sunshade, Here at my feet in the hard rock’s chink, Merely a naked sheaf of wires! – Twenty years have gone with their livers and diers Since it was silked in its white or pink. Noonshine riddles the ribs of the sunshade, No more a screen from the weakest […]

The Ageing House

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When the walls were red That now are seen To be overspread With a mouldy green, A fresh fair head Would often lean From the sunny casement And scan the scene, While blithely spoke the wind to the little sycamore tree. But storms have raged Those walls about, And the head has aged That once […]

The Interloper

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“And I saw the figure and visage of Madness seeking for a home.” There are three folk driving in a quaint old chaise, And the cliff-side track looks green and fair; I view them talking in quiet glee As they drop down towards the puffins’ lair By the roughest of ways; But another with the […]

A MEMORY OF A SISTER The fire advances along the log Of the tree we felled, Which bloomed and bore striped apples by the peck Till its last hour of bearing knelled. The fork that first my hand would reach And then my foot In climbings upward inch by inch, lies now Sawn, sapless, darkening […]

I “You on the tower of my factory – What do you see up there? Do you see Enjoyment with wide wings Advancing to reach me here?” – “Yea; I see Enjoyment with wide wings Advancing to reach you here.” II “Good. Soon I’ll come and ask you To tell me again thereon . . […]

Old Furniture

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I know not how it may be with others Who sit amid relics of householdry That date from the days of their mothers’ mothers, But well I know how it is with me Continually. I see the hands of the generations That owned each shiny familiar thing In play on its knobs and indentations, And […]

I saw it–pink and white–revealed Upon the white and green; The white and green was a daisied field, The pink and white Ethleen. And as I looked it seemed in kind That difference they had none; The two fair bodiments combined As varied miens of one. A sense that, in some mouldering year, As one […]

“I am playing my oldest tunes,” declared she, “All the old tunes I know, – Those I learnt ever so long ago.” – Why she should think just then she’d play them Silence cloaks like snow. When I returned from the town at nightfall Notes continued to pour As when I had left two hours […]

Royal Sponsors

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“The king and the queen will stand to the child; ‘Twill be handed down in song; And it’s no more than their deserving, With my lord so faithful at Court so long, And so staunch and strong. “O never before was known such a thing! ‘Twill be a grand time for all; And the beef […]

(ONOMATOPOEIC) Reticulations creep upon the slack stream’s face When the wind skims irritably past, The current clucks smartly into each hollow place That years of flood have scrabbled in the pier’s sodden base; The floating-lily leaves rot fast. On a roof stand the swallows ranged in wistful waiting rows, Till they arrow off and drop […]

The swallows flew in the curves of an eight Above the river-gleam In the wet June’s last beam: Like little crossbows animate The swallows flew in the curves of an eight Above the river-gleam. Planing up shavings of crystal spray A moor-hen darted out From the bank thereabout, And through the stream-shine ripped his way; […]

The Musical Box

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Lifelong to be Seemed the fair colour of the time; That there was standing shadowed near A spirit who sang to the gentle chime Of the self-struck notes, I did not hear, I did not see. Thus did it sing To the mindless lyre that played indoors As she came to listen for me without: […]

The bars are thick with drops that show As they gather themselves from the fog Like silver buttons ranged in a row, And as evenly spaced as if measured, although They fall at the feeblest jog. They load the leafless hedge hard by, And the blades of last year’s grass, While the fallow ploughland turned […]

I saw him pass as the new day dawned, Murmuring some musical phrase; Horses were drinking and floundering in the pond, And the tired stars thinned their gaze; Yet these were not the spectacles at all that he conned, But an inner one, giving out rays. Such was the thing in his eye, walking there, […]

Something do I see Above the fog that sheets the mead, A figure like to life indeed, Moving along with spectre-speed, Seen by none but me. O the vision keen! – Tripping along to me for love As in the flesh it used to move, Only its hat and plume above The evening fog-fleece seen. […]

Conjecture

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

If there were in my kalendar No Emma, Florence, Mary, What would be my existence now – A hermit’s?–wanderer’s weary? – How should I live, and how Near would be death, or far? Could it have been that other eyes Might have uplit my highway? That fond, sad, retrospective sight Would catch from this dim […]

The Blow

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

That no man schemed it is my hope – Yea, that it fell by will and scope Of That Which some enthrone, And for whose meaning myriads grope. For I would not that of my kind There should, of his unbiassed mind, Have been one known Who such a stroke could have designed; Since it […]

(Young Lover’s Reverie) The train draws forth from the station-yard, And with it carries me. I rise, and stretch out, and regard The platform left, and see An airy slim blue form there standing, And know that it is she. While with strained vision I watch on, The figure turns round quite To greet friends […]

Why did I sketch an upland green, And put the figure in Of one on the spot with me? – For now that one has ceased to be seen The picture waxes akin To a wordless irony. If you go drawing on down or cliff Let no soft curves intrude Of a woman’s silhouette, But […]

It pleased her to step in front and sit Where the cragged slope was green, While I stood back that I might pencil it With her amid the scene; Till it gloomed and rained; But I kept on, despite the drifting wet That fell and stained My draught, leaving for curious quizzings yet The blots […]

Great Things

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Sweet cyder is a great thing, A great thing to me, Spinning down to Weymouth town By Ridgway thirstily, And maid and mistress summoning Who tend the hostelry: O cyder is a great thing, A great thing to me! The dance it is a great thing, A great thing to me, With candles lit and […]

The Chimes

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

That morning when I trod the town The twitching chimes of long renown Played out to me The sweet Sicilian sailors’ tune, And I knew not if late or soon My day would be: A day of sunshine beryl-bright And windless; yea, think as I might, I could not say, Even to within years’ measure, […]

The Last Signal

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(Oct. 11, 1886) A MEMORY OF WILLIAM BARNES Silently I footed by an uphill road That led from my abode to a spot yew-boughed; Yellowly the sun sloped low down to westward, And dark was the east with cloud. Then, amid the shadow of that livid sad east, Where the light was least, and a […]

“That is a quiet place – That house in the trees with the shady lawn.” “–If, child, you knew what there goes on You would not call it a quiet place. Why, a phantom abides there, the last of its race, And a brain spins there till dawn.” “But I see nobody there, – Nobody […]

Transformations

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Portion of this yew Is a man my grandsire knew, Bosomed here at its foot: This branch may be his wife, A ruddy human life Now turned to a green shoot. These grasses must be made Of her who often prayed, Last century, for repose; And the fair girl long ago Whom I often tried […]

In Her Precincts

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Her house looked cold from the foggy lea, And the square of each window a dull black blur Where showed no stir: Yes, her gloom within at the lack of me Seemed matching mine at the lack of her. The black squares grew to be squares of light As the eyeshade swathed the house and […]

(Two who became a story) By the Runic Stone They sat, where the grass sloped down, And chattered, he white-hatted, she in brown, Pink-faced, breeze-blown. Rapt there alone In the transport of talking so In such a place, there was nothing to let them know What hours had flown. And the die thrown By them […]

The Pink Frock

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“O my pretty pink frock, I sha’n’t be able to wear it! Why is he dying just now? I hardly can bear it! “He might have contrived to live on; But they say there’s no hope whatever: And must I shut myself up, And go out never? “O my pretty pink frock, Puff-sleeved and accordion-pleated! […]

An Anniversary

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

It was at the very date to which we have come, In the month of the matching name, When, at a like minute, the sun had upswum, Its couch-time at night being the same. And the same path stretched here that people now follow, And the same stile crossed their way, And beyond the same […]

On A Heath

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I could hear a gown-skirt rustling Before I could see her shape, Rustling through the heather That wove the common’s drape, On that evening of dark weather When I hearkened, lips agape. And the town-shine in the distance Did but baffle here the sight, And then a voice flew forward: Dear, is’t you? I fear […]

The Tresses

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“When the air was damp It made my curls hang slack As they kissed my neck and back While I footed the salt-aired track I loved to tramp. “When it was dry They would roll up crisp and tight As I went on in the light Of the sun, which my own sprite Seemed to […]

The Photograph

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The flame crept up the portrait line by line As it lay on the coals in the silence of night’s profound, And over the arm’s incline, And along the marge of the silkwork superfine, And gnawed at the delicate bosom’s defenceless round. Then I vented a cry of hurt, and averted my eyes; The spectacle […]

The Announcement

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

They came, the brothers, and took two chairs In their usual quiet way; And for a time we did not think They had much to say. And they began and talked awhile Of ordinary things, Till spread that silence in the room A pent thought brings. And then they said: “The end has come. Yes: […]

The Oxen

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock. “Now they are all on their knees,” An elder said as we sat in a flock By the embers in hearthside ease. We pictured the meek mild creatures where They dwelt in their strawy pen, Nor did it occur to one of us there To doubt they were […]

The rain smites more and more, The east wind snarls and sneezes; Through the joints of the quivering door The water wheezes. The tip of each ivy-shoot Writhes on its neighbour’s face; There is some hid dread afoot That we cannot trace. Is it the spirit astray Of the man at the house below Whose […]

A Kiss

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

By a wall the stranger now calls his, Was born of old a particular kiss, Without forethought in its genesis; Which in a trice took wing on the air. And where that spot is nothing shows: There ivy calmly grows, And no one knows What a birth was there! That kiss is gone where none […]

“I will get a new string for my fiddle, And call to the neighbours to come, And partners shall dance down the middle Until the old pewter-wares hum: And we’ll sip the mead, cyder, and rum!” From the night came the oddest of answers: A hollow wind, like a bassoon, And headstones all ranged up […]

(Fickle Lover’s Song) I said and sang her excellence: They called it laud undue. (Have your way, my heart, O!) Yet what was homage far above The plain deserts of my olden Love Proved verity of my new. “She moves a sylph in picture-land, Where nothing frosts the air:” (Have your way, my heart, O!) […]

Something tapped on the pane of my room When there was never a trace Of wind or rain, and I saw in the gloom My weary Beloved’s face. “O I am tired of waiting,” she said, “Night, morn, noon, afternoon; So cold it is in my lonely bed, And I thought you would join me […]

The Wound

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I climbed to the crest, And, fog-festooned, The sun lay west Like a crimson wound: Like that wound of mine Of which none knew, For I’d given no sign That it pierced me through.

It was but a little thing, Yet I knew it meant to me Ease from what had given a sting To the very birdsinging Latterly. But I would not welcome it; And for all I then declined O the regrettings infinite When the night-processions flit Through the mind!

Where They Lived

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Dishevelled leaves creep down Upon that bank to-day, Some green, some yellow, and some pale brown; The wet bents bob and sway; The once warm slippery turf is sodden Where we laughingly sat or lay. The summerhouse is gone, Leaving a weedy space; The bushes that veiled it once have grown Gaunt trees that interlace, […]

The Occultation

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When the cloud shut down on the morning shine, And darkened the sun, I said, “So ended that joy of mine Years back begun.” But day continued its lustrous roll In upper air; And did my late irradiate soul Live on somewhere?

Rambling I looked for an old abode Where, years back, one had lived I knew; Its site a dwelling duly showed, But it was new. I went where, not so long ago, The sod had riven two breasts asunder; Daisies throve gaily there, as though No grave were under. I walked along a terrace where […]

The Pedigree

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I I bent in the deep of night Over a pedigree the chronicler gave As mine; and as I bent there, half-unrobed, The uncurtained panes of my window-square let in the watery light Of the moon in its old age: And green-rheumed clouds were hurrying past where mute and cold it globed Like a drifting […]

This Heart

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A WOMAN’S DREAM At midnight, in the room where he lay dead Whom in his life I had never clearly read, I thought if I could peer into that citadel His heart, I should at last know full and well What hereto had been known to him alone, Despite our long sit-out of years foreflown, […]

I travel as a phantom now, For people do not wish to see In flesh and blood so bare a bough As Nature makes of me. And thus I visit bodiless Strange gloomy households often at odds, And wonder if Man’s consciousness Was a mistake of God’s. And next I meet you, and I pause, […]

Show me again the time When in the Junetide’s prime We flew by meads and mountains northerly! – Yea, to such freshness, fairness, fulness, fineness, freeness, Love lures life on. Show me again the day When from the sandy bay We looked together upon the pestered sea! – Yea, to such surging, swaying, sighing, swelling, […]

When he lit the candles there, And the light fell on his hand, And it trembled as he scanned Her and me, his vanquished air Hinted that his dream was done, And I saw he had begun To understand. When Love’s viol was unstrung, Sore I wished the hand that shook Had been mine that […]

The Change

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Out of the past there rises a week – Who shall read the years O! – Out of the past there rises a week Enringed with a purple zone. Out of the past there rises a week When thoughts were strung too thick to speak, And the magic of its lineaments remains with me alone. […]

(Echo of an old song) Sitting on the bridge Past the barracks, town and ridge, At once the spirit seized us To sing a song that pleased us – As “The Fifth” were much in rumour; It was “Whilst I’m in the humour, Take me, Paddy, will you now?” And a lancer soon drew nigh, […]

This statue of Liberty, busy man, Here erect in the city square, I have watched while your scrubbings, this early morning, Strangely wistful, And half tristful, Have turned her from foul to fair; With your bucket of water, and mop, and brush, Bringing her out of the grime That has smeared her during the smokes […]

(Lover’s Ditty) I think of the slope where the rabbits fed, Of the periwinks’ rockwork lair, Of the fuchsias ringing their bells of red – And the something else seen there. Between the blooms where the sod basked bright, By the bobbing fuchsia trees, Was another and yet more eyesome sight – The sight that […]

How could I be aware, The opposite window eyeing As I lay listless there, That through its blinds was dying One I had rated rare Before I had set me sighing For another more fair? Had the house-front been glass, My vision unobscuring, Could aught have come to pass More happiness-insuring To her, loved as […]

Does he want you down there In the Nether Glooms where The hours may be a dragging load upon him, As he hears the axle grind Round and round Of the great world, in the blind Still profound Of the night-time? He might liven at the sound Of your string, revealing you had not forgone […]

The Duel

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“I am here to time, you see; The glade is well-screened–eh?–against alarm; Fit place to vindicate by my arm The honour of my spotless wife, Who scorns your libel upon her life In boasting intimacy! “‘All hush-offerings you’ll spurn, My husband. Two must come; one only go,’ She said. ‘That he’ll be you I know; […]

The Riddle

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Stretching eyes west Over the sea, Wind foul or fair, Always stood she Prospect-impressed; Solely out there Did her gaze rest, Never elsewhere Seemed charm to be. II Always eyes east Ponders she now – As in devotion – Hills of blank brow Where no waves plough. Never the least Room for emotion Drawn […]

The wind blew words along the skies, And these it blew to me Through the wide dusk: “Lift up your eyes, Behold this troubled tree, Complaining as it sways and plies; It is a limb of thee. “Yea, too, the creatures sheltering round – Dumb figures, wild and tame, Yea, too, thy fellows who abound […]

The Faded Face

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

How was this I did not see Such a look as here was shown Ere its womanhood had blown Past its first felicity? – That I did not know you young, Faded Face, Know you young! Why did Time so ill bestead That I heard no voice of yours Hail from out the curved contours […]

Before Knowledge

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When I walked roseless tracks and wide, Ere dawned your date for meeting me, O why did you not cry Halloo Across the stretch between, and say: “We move, while years as yet divide, On closing lines which–though it be You know me not nor I know you – Will intersect and join some day!” […]

The Blinded Bird

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

So zestfully canst thou sing? And all this indignity, With God’s consent, on thee! Blinded ere yet a-wing By the red-hot needle thou, I stand and wonder how So zestfully thou canst sing! Resenting not such wrong, Thy grievous pain forgot, Eternal dark thy lot, Groping thy whole life long; After that stab of fire; […]

I idly cut a parsley stalk, And blew therein towards the moon; I had not thought what ghosts would walk With shivering footsteps to my tune. I went, and knelt, and scooped my hand As if to drink, into the brook, And a faint figure seemed to stand Above me, with the bygone look. I […]

Timing Her

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(Written to an old folk-tune) Lalage’s coming: Where is she now, O? Turning to bow, O, And smile, is she, Just at parting, Parting, parting, As she is starting To come to me? Where is she now, O, Now, and now, O, Shadowing a bough, O, Of hedge or tree As she is rushing, Rushing, […]

To Shakespeare

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

AFTER THREE HUNDRED YEARS Bright baffling Soul, least capturable of themes, Thou, who display’dst a life of common-place, Leaving no intimate word or personal trace Of high design outside the artistry Of thy penned dreams, Still shalt remain at heart unread eternally. Through human orbits thy discourse to-day, Despite thy formal pilgrimage, throbs on In […]

Quid Hic Agis?

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I When I weekly knew An ancient pew, And murmured there The forms of prayer And thanks and praise In the ancient ways, And heard read out During August drought That chapter from Kings Harvest-time brings; – How the prophet, broken By griefs unspoken, Went heavily away To fast and to pray, And, while waiting […]

(Wimborne) How smartly the quarters of the hour march by That the jack-o’-clock never forgets; Ding-dong; and before I have traced a cusp’s eye, Or got the true twist of the ogee over, A double ding-dong ricochetts. Just so did he clang here before I came, And so will he clang when I’m gone Through […]

There was a stunted handpost just on the crest, Only a few feet high: She was tired, and we stopped in the twilight-time for her rest, At the crossways close thereby. She leant back, being so weary, against its stem, And laid her arms on its own, Each open palm stretched out to each end […]

Joys Of Memory

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When the spring comes round, and a certain day Looks out from the brume by the eastern copsetrees And says, Remember, I begin again, as if it were new, A day of like date I once lived through, Whiling it hour by hour away; So shall I do till my December, When spring comes round. […]

You were the sort that men forget; Though I–not yet! – Perhaps not ever. Your slighted weakness Adds to the strength of my regret! You’d not the art–you never had For good or bad – To make men see how sweet your meaning, Which, visible, had charmed them glad. You would, by words inept let […]

She, I, And They

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I was sitting, She was knitting, And the portraits of our fore-folk hung around; When there struck on us a sigh; “Ah–what is that?” said I: “Was it not you?” said she. “A sigh did sound.” I had not breathed it, Nor the night-wind heaved it, And how it came to us we could not […]

A day is drawing to its fall I had not dreamed to see; The first of many to enthrall My spirit, will it be? Or is this eve the end of all Such new delight for me? I journey home: the pattern grows Of moonshades on the way: “Soon the first quarter, I suppose,” Sky-glancing […]

The Rival

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I determined to find out whose it was – The portrait he looked at so, and sighed; Bitterly have I rued my meanness And wept for it since he died! I searched his desk when he was away, And there was the likeness–yes, my own! Taken when I was the season’s fairest, And time-lines all […]

Heredity

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I am the family face; Flesh perishes, I live on, Projecting trait and trace Through time to times anon, And leaping from place to place Over oblivion. The years-heired feature that can In curve and voice and eye Despise the human span Of durance–that is I; The eternal thing in man, That heeds no call […]

She looked like a bird from a cloud On the clammy lawn, Moving alone, bare-browed In the dim of dawn. The candles alight in the room For my parting meal Made all things withoutdoors loom Strange, ghostly, unreal. The hour itself was a ghost, And it seemed to me then As of chances the chance […]

There floated the sounds of church-chiming, But no one was nigh, Till there came, as a break in the loneness, Her father, she, I. And we slowly moved on to the wicket, And downlooking stood, Till anon people passed, and amid them We parted for good. Greater, wiser, may part there than we three Who […]

In A Museum

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Here’s the mould of a musical bird long passed from light, Which over the earth before man came was winging; There’s a contralto voice I heard last night, That lodges in me still with its sweet singing. II Such a dream is Time that the coo of this ancient bird Has perished not, but […]

I met you first–ah, when did I first meet you? When I was full of wonder, and innocent, Standing meek-eyed with those of choric bent, While dimming day grew dimmer In the pulpit-glimmer. Much riper in years I met you–in a temple Where summer sunset streamed upon our shapes, And you spread over me like […]

(Wooer’s Song) Why be at pains that I should know You sought not me? Do breezes, then, make features glow So rosily? Come, the lit port is at our back, And the tumbling sea; Elsewhere the lampless uphill track To uncertainty! O should not we two waifs join hands? I am alone, You would enrich […]

(Bournemouth, 1875) We sat at the window looking out, And the rain came down like silken strings That Swithin’s day. Each gutter and spout Babbled unchecked in the busy way Of witless things: Nothing to read, nothing to see Seemed in that room for her and me On Swithin’s day. We were irked by the […]

(Circa 1850) On afternoons of drowsy calm We stood in the panelled pew, Singing one-voiced a Tate-and-Brady psalm To the tune of “Cambridge New.” We watched the elms, we watched the rooks, The clouds upon the breeze, Between the whiles of glancing at our books, And swaying like the trees. So mindless were those outpourings! […]

Moments Of Vision

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

That mirror Which makes of men a transparency, Who holds that mirror And bids us such a breast-bare spectacle see Of you and me? That mirror Whose magic penetrates like a dart, Who lifts that mirror And throws our mind back on us, and our heart, Until we start? That mirror Works well in these […]

Forty Augusts–aye, and several more–ago, When I paced the headlands loosed from dull employ, The waves huzza’d like a multitude below In the sway of an all-including joy Without cloy. Blankly I walked there a double decade after, When thwarts had flung their toils in front of me, And I heard the waters wagging in […]

The Glimpse

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

She sped through the door And, following in haste, And stirred to the core, I entered hot-faced; But I could not find her, No sign was behind her. “Where is she?” I said: – “Who?” they asked that sat there; “Not a soul’s come in sight.” – “A maid with red hair.” – “Ah.” They […]

The Robin

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When up aloft I fly and fly, I see in pools The shining sky, And a happy bird Am I, am I! When I descend Towards their brink I stand, and look, And stoop, and drink, And bathe my wings, And chink and prink. When winter frost Makes earth as steel I search and search […]

Departure

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(Southampton Docks: October, 1899) While the far farewell music thins and fails, And the broad bottoms rip the bearing brine – All smalling slowly to the gray sea line – And each significant red smoke-shaft pales, Keen sense of severance everywhere prevails, Which shapes the late long tramp of mounting men To seeming words that […]

The Problem

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Shall we conceal the Case, or tell it – We who believe the evidence? Here and there the watch-towers knell it With a sullen significance, Heard of the few who hearken intently and carry an eagerly upstrained sense. Hearts that are happiest hold not by it; Better we let, then, the old view reign; Since […]

A Man

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(IN MEMORY OF H. OF M.) I In Casterbridge there stood a noble pile, Wrought with pilaster, bay, and balustrade In tactful times when shrewd Eliza swayed. – On burgher, squire, and clown It smiled the long street down for near a mile II But evil days beset that domicile; The stately beauties of its […]

Memory And I

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“O memory, where is now my youth, Who used to say that life was truth?” “I saw him in a crumbled cot Beneath a tottering tree; That he as phantom lingers there Is only known to me.” “O Memory, where is now my joy, Who lived with me in sweet employ?” “I saw him in […]

[Greek Title]

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Long have I framed weak phantasies of Thee, O Willer masked and dumb! Who makest Life become, – As though by labouring all-unknowingly, Like one whom reveries numb. How much of consciousness informs Thy will Thy biddings, as if blind, Of death-inducing kind, Nought shows to us ephemeral ones who fill But moments in Thy […]

I I have lived with shades so long, And talked to them so oft, Since forth from cot and croft I went mankind among, That sometimes they In their dim style Will pause awhile To hear my say; II And take me by the hand, And lead me through their rooms In the To-be, where […]

From Victor Hugo

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Child, were I king, I’d yield my royal rule, My chariot, sceptre, vassal-service due, My crown, my porphyry-basined waters cool, My fleets, whereto the sea is but a pool, For a glance from you! Love, were I God, the earth and its heaving airs, Angels, the demons abject under me, Vast chaos with its teeming […]

Here’s one in whom Nature feared–faint at such vying – Eclipse while he lived, and decease at his dying.

After Schiller

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Knight, a true sister-love This heart retains; Ask me no other love, That way lie pains! Calm must I view thee come, Calm see thee go; Tale-telling tears of thine I must not know!

Song From Heine

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I scanned her picture dreaming, Till each dear line and hue Was imaged, to my seeming, As if it lived anew. Her lips began to borrow Their former wondrous smile; Her fair eyes, faint with sorrow, Grew sparkling as erstwhile. Such tears as often ran not Ran then, my love, for thee; And O, believe […]

Sapphic Fragment

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Thou shalt be–Nothing.”–OMAR KHAYYAM. “Tombless, with no remembrance.”–W. SHAKESPEARE. Dead shalt thou lie; and nought Be told of thee or thought, For thou hast plucked not of the Muses’ tree: And even in Hades’ halls Amidst thy fellow-thralls No friendly shade thy shade shall company!

Catullus: XXXI

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(After passing Sirmione, April 1887.) Sirmio, thou dearest dear of strands That Neptune strokes in lake and sea, With what high joy from stranger lands Doth thy old friend set foot on thee! Yea, barely seems it true to me That no Bithynia holds me now, But calmly and assuringly Around me stretchest homely Thou. […]

Tess’s Lament

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I I would that folk forgot me quite, Forgot me quite! I would that I could shrink from sight, And no more see the sun. Would it were time to say farewell, To claim my nook, to need my knell, Time for them all to stand and tell Of my day’s work as done. II […]

I He bends his travel-tarnished feet To where she wastes in clay: From day-dawn until eve he fares Along the wintry way; From day-dawn until eve repairs Unto her mound to pray. II “Are these the gravestone shapes that meet My forward-straining view? Or forms that cross a window-blind In circle, knot, and queue: Gay […]

The Self-Unseeing

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Here is the ancient floor, Footworn and hollowed and thin, Here was the former door Where the dead feet walked in. She sat here in her chair, Smiling into the fire; He who played stood there, Bowing it higher and higher. Childlike, I danced in a dream; Blessings emblazoned that day Everything glowed with a […]

De Profundis

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I “Percussus sum sicut foenum, et aruit cor meum.” – Ps. ci Wintertime nighs; But my bereavement-pain It cannot bring again: Twice no one dies. Flower-petals flee; But, since it once hath been, No more that severing scene Can harrow me. Birds faint in dread: I shall not lose old strength In the lone frost’s […]

I The church flings forth a battled shade Over the moon-blanched sward; The church; my gift; whereto I paid My all in hand and hoard: Lavished my gains With stintless pains To glorify the Lord. II I squared the broad foundations in Of ashlared masonry; I moulded mullions thick and thin, Hewed fillet and ogee; […]

I Its roots are bristling in the air Like some mad Earth-god’s spiny hair; The loud south-wester’s swell and yell Smote it at midnight, and it fell. Thus ends the tree Where Some One sat with me. II Its boughs, which none but darers trod, A child may step on from the sod, And twigs […]

Her Late Husband

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(KING’S-HINTOCK, 182-.) “No–not where I shall make my own; But dig his grave just by The woman’s with the initialed stone – As near as he can lie – After whose death he seemed to ail, Though none considered why. “And when I also claim a nook, And your feet tread me in, Bestow me, […]

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 […]

It was a wet wan hour in spring, And Nature met King Doom beside a lane, Wherein Hodge trudged, all blithely ballading The Mother’s smiling reign. “Why warbles he that skies are fair And coombs alight,” she cried, “and fallows gay, When I have placed no sunshine in the air Or glow on earth to-day?” […]

The Ruined Maid

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“O ‘Melia, my dear, this does everything crown! Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town? And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?” – “O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?” said she. – “You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks, Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks; And now […]

Since Reverend Doctors now declare That clerks and people must prepare To doubt if Adam ever were; To hold the flood a local scare; To argue, though the stolid stare, That everything had happened ere The prophets to its happening sware; That David was no giant-slayer, Nor one to call a God-obeyer In certain details […]

I There is a house with ivied walls, And mullioned windows worn and old, And the long dwellers in those halls Have souls that know but sordid calls, And daily dote on gold. II In blazing brick and plated show Not far away a “villa” gleams, And here a family few may know, With book […]

“O passenger, pray list and catch Our sighs and piteous groans, Half stifled in this jumbled patch Of wrenched memorial stones! “We late-lamented, resting here, Are mixed to human jam, And each to each exclaims in fear, ‘I know not which I am!’ “The wicked people have annexed The verses on the good; A roaring […]

I Winter is white on turf and tree, And birds are fled; But summer songsters pipe to me, And petals spread, For what I dreamt of secretly His lips have said! II O ’tis a fine May morn, they say, And blooms have blown; But wild and wintry is my day, My birds make moan; […]

The Milkmaid

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Under a daisied bank There stands a rich red ruminating cow, And hard against her flank A cotton-hooded milkmaid bends her brow. The flowery river-ooze Upheaves and falls; the milk purrs in the pail; Few pilgrims but would choose The peace of such a life in such a vale. The maid breathes words–to vent, It […]

A Wasted Illness

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Through vaults of pain, Enribbed and wrought with groins of ghastliness, I passed, and garish spectres moved my brain To dire distress. And hammerings, And quakes, and shoots, and stifling hotness, blent With webby waxing things and waning things As on I went. “Where lies the end To this foul way?” I asked with weakening […]

I “Soul! Shall I see thy face,” she said, “In one brief hour? And away with thee from a loveless bed To a far-off sun, to a vine-wrapt bower, And be thine own unseparated, And challenge the world’s white glower? II She quickened her feet, and met him where They had predesigned: And they clasped, […]

I It bends far over Yell’ham Plain, And we, from Yell’ham Height, Stand and regard its fiery train, So soon to swim from sight. II It will return long years hence, when As now its strange swift shine Will fall on Yell’ham; but not then On that sweet form of thine.

Mad Judy

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When the hamlet hailed a birth Judy used to cry: When she heard our christening mirth She would kneel and sigh. She was crazed, we knew, and we Humoured her infirmity. When the daughters and the sons Gathered them to wed, And we like-intending ones Danced till dawn was red, She would rock and mutter, […]

I leant upon a coppice gate When Frost was spectre-gray, And Winter’s dregs made desolate The weakening eye of day. The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings from broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires. The land’s sharp features seemed to be The Century’s corpse outleant, His crypt […]

Why should this flower delay so long To show its tremulous plumes? Now is the time of plaintive robin-song, When flowers are in their tombs. Through the slow summer, when the sun Called to each frond and whorl That all he could for flowers was being done, Why did it not uncurl? It must have […]

(TRIOLET) They are not those who used to feed us When we were young–they cannot be – These shapes that now bereave and bleed us? They are not those who used to feed us, – For would they not fair terms concede us? – If hearts can house such treachery They are not those who […]

SCENE.–A wide stretch of fallow ground recently sown with wheat, and frozen to iron hardness. Three large birds walking about thereon, and wistfully eyeing the surface. Wind keen from north-east: sky a dull grey. (TRIOLET) Rook.–Throughout the field I find no grain; The cruel frost encrusts the cornland! Starling.–Aye: patient pecking now is vain Throughout […]

(VILLANELLE) “Men know but little more than we, Who count us least of things terrene, How happy days are made to be! “Of such strange tidings what think ye, O birds in brown that peck and preen? Men know but little more than we! “When I was borne from yonder tree In bonds to them, […]

(TRIOLET) Around the house the flakes fly faster, And all the berries now are gone From holly and cotoneaster Around the house. The flakes fly!–faster Shutting indoors that crumb-outcaster We used to see upon the lawn Around the house. The flakes fly faster, And all the berries now are gone! MAX GATE.

I A shaded lamp and a waving blind, And the beat of a clock from a distant floor: On this scene enter–winged, horned, and spined – A longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore; While ‘mid my page there idly stands A sleepy fly, that rubs its hands . . . II Thus meet we five, […]

The Superseded

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I As newer comers crowd the fore, We drop behind. – We who have laboured long and sore Times out of mind, And keen are yet, must not regret To drop behind. II Yet there are of us some who grieve To go behind; Staunch, strenuous souls who scarce believe Their fires declined, And know […]

Wives In The Sere

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Never a careworn wife but shows, If a joy suffuse her, Something beautiful to those Patient to peruse her, Some one charm the world unknows Precious to a muser, Haply what, ere years were foes, Moved her mate to choose her. II But, be it a hint of rose That an instant hues her, […]

I I heard a small sad sound, And stood awhile amid the tombs around: “Wherefore, old friends,” said I, “are ye distrest, Now, screened from life’s unrest?” II –“O not at being here; But that our future second death is drear; When, with the living, memory of us numbs, And blank oblivion comes! III “Those […]

A dream of mine flew over the mead To the halls where my old Love reigns; And it drew me on to follow its lead: And I stood at her window-panes; And I saw but a thing of flesh and bone Speeding on to its cleft in the clay; And my dream was scared, and […]

His Immortality

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I I saw a dead man’s finer part Shining within each faithful heart Of those bereft. Then said I: “This must be His immortality.” II I looked there as the seasons wore, And still his soul continuously upbore Its life in theirs. But less its shine excelled Than when I first beheld. III His fellow-yearsmen […]

The Widow

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

By Mellstock Lodge and Avenue Towards her door I went, And sunset on her window-panes Reflected our intent. The creeper on the gable nigh Was fired to more than red And when I came to halt thereby “Bright as my joy!” I said. Of late days it had been her aim To meet me in […]

(TRIOLET) If hours be years the twain are blest, For now they solace swift desire By bonds of every bond the best, If hours be years. The twain are blest Do eastern stars slope never west, Nor pallid ashes follow fire: If hours be years the twain are blest, For now they solace swift desire.

Long Plighted

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Is it worth while, dear, now, To call for bells, and sally forth arrayed For marriage-rites — discussed, decried, delayed So many years? Is it worth while, dear, now, To stir desire for old fond purposings, By feints that Time still serves for dallyings, Though quittance nears? Is it worth while, dear, when The day […]

(TRIOLETS) I For long the cruel wish I knew That your free heart should ache for me While mine should bear no ache for you; For, long–the cruel wish!–I knew How men can feel, and craved to view My triumph–fated not to be For long! . . . The cruel wish I knew That your […]

A Spot

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

In years defaced and lost, Two sat here, transport-tossed, Lit by a living love The wilted world knew nothing of: Scared momently By gaingivings, Then hoping things That could not be. Of love and us no trace Abides upon the place; The sun and shadows wheel, Season and season sereward steal; Foul days and fair […]

(TRIOLET) How great my grief, my joys how few, Since first it was my fate to know thee! – Have the slow years not brought to view How great my grief, my joys how few, Nor memory shaped old times anew, Nor loving-kindness helped to show thee How great my grief, my joys how few, […]

"I Need Not Go"

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I need not go Through sleet and snow To where I know She waits for me; She will wait me there Till I find it fair, And have time to spare From company. When I’ve overgot The world somewhat, When things cost not Such stress and strain, Is soon enough By cypress sough To tell […]

You did not come, And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb. – Yet less for loss of your dear presence there Than that I thus found lacking in your make That high compassion which can overbear Reluctance for pure lovingkindness’ sake Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum, You did not […]

"Between Us Now"

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Between us now and here – Two thrown together Who are not wont to wear Life’s flushest feather – Who see the scenes slide past, The daytimes dimming fast, Let there be truth at last, Even if despair. So thoroughly and long Have you now known me, So real in faith and strong Have I […]

Her Reproach

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Con the dead page as ’twere live love: press on! Cold wisdom’s words will ease thy track for thee; Aye, go; cast off sweet ways, and leave me wan To biting blasts that are intent on me. But if thy object Fame’s far summits be, Whose inclines many a skeleton o’erlies That missed both dream […]

The Inconsistent

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I say, “She was as good as fair,” When standing by her mound; “Such passing sweetness,” I declare, “No longer treads the ground.” I say, “What living Love can catch Her bloom and bonhomie, And what in newer maidens match Her olden warmth to me!” – There stands within yon vestry-nook Where bonded lovers sign, […]

Song Of Hope

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

O sweet To-morrow! – After to-day There will away This sense of sorrow. Then let us borrow Hope, for a gleaming Soon will be streaming, Dimmed by no gray – No gray! While the winds wing us Sighs from The Gone, Nearer to dawn Minute-beats bring us; When there will sing us Larks of a […]

The Well-Beloved

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I wayed by star and planet shine Towards the dear one’s home At Kingsbere, there to make her mine When the next sun upclomb. I edged the ancient hill and wood Beside the Ikling Way, Nigh where the Pagan temple stood In the world’s earlier day. And as I quick and quicker walked On gravel […]

To Lizbie Browne

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Dear Lizbie Browne, Where are you now? In sun, in rain? – Or is your brow Past joy, past pain, Dear Lizbie Browne? II Sweet Lizbie Browne How you could smile, How you could sing! – How archly wile In glance-giving, Sweet Lizbie Browne! III And, Lizbie Browne, Who else had hair Bay-red as […]

Sunned in the South, and here to-day; –If all organic things Be sentient, Flowers, as some men say, What are your ponderings? How can you stay, nor vanish quite From this bleak spot of thorn, And birch, and fir, and frozen white Expanse of the forlorn? Frail luckless exiles hither brought! Your dust will not […]

On A Fine Morning

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Whence comes Solace?–Not from seeing What is doing, suffering, being, Not from noting Life’s conditions, Nor from heeding Time’s monitions; But in cleaving to the Dream, And in gazing at the gleam Whereby gray things golden seem. II Thus do I this heyday, holding Shadows but as lights unfolding, As no specious show this moment […]

Mute Opinion

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I I traversed a dominion Whose spokesmen spake out strong Their purpose and opinion Through pulpit, press, and song. I scarce had means to note there A large-eyed few, and dumb, Who thought not as those thought there That stirred the heat and hum. II When, grown a Shade, beholding That land in lifetime trode, […]

I 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. II Hark, how the peoples surge and sigh, And laughters fail, and greetings die: Hopes dwindle; yea, Faiths waste away, Affections and […]

I “O Lord, why grievest Thou? – Since Life has ceased to be Upon this globe, now cold As lunar land and sea, And humankind, and fowl, and fur Are gone eternally, All is the same to Thee as ere They knew mortality.” II “O Time,” replied the Lord, “Thou read’st me ill, I ween; […]

God-Forgotten

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I towered far, and lo! I stood within The presence of the Lord Most High, Sent thither by the sons of earth, to win Some answer to their cry. –“The Earth, say’st thou? The Human race? By Me created? Sad its lot? Nay: I have no remembrance of such place: Such world I fashioned not.” […]

Much wonder I–here long low-laid – That this dead wall should be Betwixt the Maker and the made, Between Thyself and me! For, say one puts a child to nurse, He eyes it now and then To know if better ’tis, or worse, And if it mourn, and when. But Thou, Lord, giv’st us men […]

The Subalterns

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I “Poor wanderer,” said the leaden sky, “I fain would lighten thee, But there be laws in force on high Which say it must not be.” II – “I would not freeze thee, shorn one,” cried The North, “knew I but how To warm my breath, to slack my stride; But I am ruled as […]

The Sleep-Worker

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When wilt thou wake, O Mother, wake and see – As one who, held in trance, has laboured long By vacant rote and prepossession strong – The coils that thou hast wrought unwittingly; Wherein have place, unrealized by thee, Fair growths, foul cankers, right enmeshed with wrong, Strange orchestras of victim-shriek and song, And curious […]

The Bullfinches

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Bother Bulleys, let us sing From the dawn till evening! – For we know not that we go not When the day’s pale pinions fold Unto those who sang of old. When I flew to Blackmoor Vale, Whence the green-gowned faeries hail, Roosting near them I could hear them Speak of queenly Nature’s ways, Means, […]

Doom And She

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I There dwells a mighty pair – Slow, statuesque, intense – Amid the vague Immense: None can their chronicle declare, Nor why they be, nor whence. II Mother of all things made, Matchless in artistry, Unlit with sight is she. – And though her ever well-obeyed Vacant of feeling he. III The Matron mildly asks […]

The Lacking Sense

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

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 […]

To Life

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

O life with the sad seared face, I weary of seeing thee, And thy draggled cloak, and thy hobbling pace, And thy too-forced pleasantry! I know what thou would’st tell Of Death, Time, Destiny – I have known it long, and know, too, well What it all means for me. But canst thou not array […]

A Commonplace Day

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The day is turning ghost, And scuttles from the kalendar in fits and furtively, To join the anonymous host Of those that throng oblivion; ceding his place, maybe, To one of like degree. I part the fire-gnawed logs, Rake forth the embers, spoil the busy flames, and lay the ends Upon the shining dogs; Further […]

Thy shadow, Earth, from Pole to Central Sea, Now steals along upon the Moon’s meek shine In even monochrome and curving line Of imperturbable serenity. How shall I link such sun-cast symmetry With the torn troubled form I know as thine, That profile, placid as a brow divine, With continents of moil and misery? And […]

The Mother Mourns

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When mid-autumn’s moan shook the night-time, And sedges were horny, And summer’s green wonderwork faltered On leaze and in lane, I fared Yell’ham-Firs way, where dimly Came wheeling around me Those phantoms obscure and insistent That shadows unchain. Till airs from the needle-thicks brought me A low lamentation, As ’twere of a tree-god disheartened, Perplexed, […]

"I Said To Love"

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I said to Love, “It is not now as in old days When men adored thee and thy ways All else above; Named thee the Boy, the Bright, the One Who spread a heaven beneath the sun,” I said to Love. I said to him, “We now know more of thee than then; We were […]

(June-July, 1897) Thirty-two years since, up against the sun, Seven shapes, thin atomies to lower sight, Labouringly leapt and gained thy gabled height, And four lives paid for what the seven had won. They were the first by whom the deed was done, And when I look at thee, my mind takes flight To that […]

(Spring, 1887) THE BRIDGE OF LODI {1} I When of tender mind and body I was moved by minstrelsy, And that strain “The Bridge of Lodi” Brought a strange delight to me. II In the battle-breathing jingle Of its forward-footing tune I could see the armies mingle, And the columns cleft and hewn III On […]

I My ardours for emprize nigh lost Since Life has bared its bones to me, I shrink to seek a modern coast Whose riper times have yet to be; Where the new regions claim them free From that long drip of human tears Which peoples old in tragedy Have left upon the centuried years. II […]

NEAR THE GRAVES OF SHELLEY AND KEATS (1887) Who, then, was Cestius, And what is he to me? – Amid thick thoughts and memories multitudinous One thought alone brings he. I can recall no word Of anything he did; For me he is a man who died and was interred To leave a pyramid Whose […]

11-12 P.M. June 27, 1897 (The 110th anniversary of the completion of the “Decline and Fall” at the same hour and place) A spirit seems to pass, Formal in pose, but grave and grand withal: He contemplates a volume stout and tall, And far lamps fleck him through the thin acacias. Anon the book is […]

(April, 1887) These numbered cliffs and gnarls of masonry Outskeleton Time’s central city, Rome; Whereof each arch, entablature, and dome Lies bare in all its gaunt anatomy. And cracking frieze and rotten metope Express, as though they were an open tome Top-lined with caustic monitory gnome; “Dunces, Learn here to spell Humanity!” And yet within […]

(1887) I sat in the Muses’ Hall at the mid of the day, And it seemed to grow still, and the people to pass away, And the chiselled shapes to combine in a haze of sun, Till beside a Carrara column there gleamed forth One. She was nor this nor that of those beings divine, […]

(April, 1887) We walked where Victor Jove was shrined awhile, And passed to Livia’s rich red mural show, Whence, thridding cave and Criptoportico, We gained Caligula’s dissolving pile. And each ranked ruin tended to beguile The outer sense, and shape itself as though It wore its marble hues, its pristine glow Of scenic frieze and […]

(April, 1887) I traced the Circus whose gray stones incline Where Rome and dim Etruria interjoin, Till came a child who showed an ancient coin That bore the image of a Constantine. She lightly passed; nor did she once opine How, better than all books, she had raised for me In swift perspective Europe’s history […]

(March, 1887) O epic-famed, god-haunted Central Sea, Heave careless of the deep wrong done to thee When from Torino’s track I saw thy face first flash on me. And multimarbled Genova the Proud, Gleam all unconscious how, wide-lipped, up-browed, I first beheld thee clad–not as the Beauty but the Dowd. Out from a deep-delved way […]

(The neighbourhood of Leghorn: March, 1887) Somewhere afield here something lies In Earth’s oblivious eyeless trust That moved a poet to prophecies – A pinch of unseen, unguarded dust The dust of the lark that Shelley heard, And made immortal through times to be; – Though it only lived like another bird, And knew not […]

The Sick God

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I In days when men had joy of war, A God of Battles sped each mortal jar; The peoples pledged him heart and hand, From Israel’s land to isles afar. II His crimson form, with clang and chime, Flashed on each murk and murderous meeting-time, And kings invoked, for rape and raid, His fearsome aid […]

I At last! In sight of home again, Of home again; No more to range and roam again As at that bygone time? No more to go away from us And stay from us? – Dawn, hold not long the day from us, But quicken it to prime! II Now all the town shall ring […]

The Dead Drummer

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest Uncoffined–just as found: His landmark is a kopje-crest That breaks the veldt around; And foreign constellations west Each night above his mound. II Young Hodge the Drummer never knew – Fresh from his Wessex home – The meaning of the broad Karoo, The Bush, the dusty loam, […]

A Wife In London

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(December, 1899) I–THE TRAGEDY She sits in the tawny vapour That the City lanes have uprolled, Behind whose webby fold on fold Like a waning taper The street-lamp glimmers cold. A messenger’s knock cracks smartly, Flashed news is in her hand Of meaning it dazes to understand Though shaped so shortly: He–has fallen–in the far […]

I The thick lids of Night closed upon me Alone at the Bill Of the Isle by the Race {1} – Many-caverned, bald, wrinkled of face – And with darkness and silence the spirit was on me To brood and be still. II No wind fanned the flats of the ocean, Or promontory sides, Or […]

South of the Line, inland from far Durban, A mouldering soldier lies–your countryman. Awry and doubled up are his gray bones, And on the breeze his puzzled phantom moans Nightly to clear Canopus: “I would know By whom and when the All-Earth-gladdening Law Of Peace, brought in by that Man Crucified, Was ruled to be […]

WIVES’ LAMENT (November 2, 1899) I O it was sad enough, weak enough, mad enough – Light in their loving as soldiers can be – First to risk choosing them, leave alone losing them Now, in far battle, beyond the South Sea! . . . II – Rain came down drenchingly; but we unblenchingly Trudged […]

(Affixing the Lists of Killed and Wounded: December, 1899) I Last year I called this world of gain-givings The darkest thinkable, and questioned sadly If my own land could heave its pulse less gladly, So charged it seemed with circumstance whence springs The tragedy of things. II Yet at that censured time no heart was […]

Embarcation

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(Southampton Docks: October, 1899) Here, where Vespasian’s legions struck the sands, And Cerdic with his Saxons entered in, And Henry’s army leapt afloat to win Convincing triumphs over neighbour lands, Vaster battalions press for further strands, To argue in the self-same bloody mode Which this late age of thought, and pact, and code, Still fails […]

(Southampton Docks: October, 1899) “The quay recedes. Hurrah! Ahead we go! . . . It’s true I’ve been accustomed now to home, And joints get rusty, and one’s limbs may grow More fit to rest than roam. “But I can stand as yet fair stress and strain; There’s not a little steel beneath the rust; […]

Moments the mightiest pass uncalendared, And when the Absolute In backward Time outgave the deedful word Whereby all life is stirred: “Let one be born and throned whose mould shall constitute The norm of every royal-reckoned attribute,” No mortal knew or heard. But in due days the purposed Life outshone – Serene, sagacious, free; –Her […]

How it came to an end! The meeting afar from the crowd, And the love-looks and laughters unpenned, The parting when much was avowed, How it came to an end! It came to an end; Yes, the outgazing over the stream, With the sun on each serpentine bend, Or, later, the luring moon-gleam; It came […]

Afterwards

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay, And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings, Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say, “He was a man who used to notice such things”? If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid’s soundless blink, The dewfall-hawk comes […]

"I Met A Man"

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I met a man when night was nigh, Who said, with shining face and eye Like Moses’ after Sinai:- “I have seen the Moulder of Monarchies, Realms, peoples, plains and hills, Sitting upon the sunlit seas! – And, as He sat, soliloquies Fell from Him like an antiphonic breeze That pricks the waves to thrills. […]

I looked up from my writing, And gave a start to see, As if rapt in my inditing, The moon’s full gaze on me. Her meditative misty head Was spectral in its air, And I involuntarily said, “What are you doing there?” “Oh, I’ve been scanning pond and hole And waterway hereabout For the body […]

I Phantasmal fears, And the flap of the flame, And the throb of the clock, And a loosened slate, And the blind night’s drone, Which tiredly the spectral pines intone! II And the blood in my ears Strumming always the same, And the gable-cock With its fitful grate, And myself, alone. III The twelfth hour […]

Up and be doing, all who have a hand To lift, a back to bend. It must not be In times like these that vaguely linger we To air our vaunts and hopes; and leave our land Untended as a wild of weeds and sand. – Say, then, “I come!” and go, O women and […]

The dead woman lay in her first night’s grave, And twilight fell from the clouds’ concave, And those she had asked to forgive forgave. The woman passing came to a pause By the heaped white shapes of wreath and cross, And looked upon where the other was. And as she mused there thus spoke she: […]

Often when warring for he wist not what, An enemy-soldier, passing by one weak, Has tendered water, wiped the burning cheek, And cooled the lips so black and clammed and hot; Then gone his way, and maybe quite forgot The deed of grace amid the roar and reek; Yet larger vision than loud arms bespeak […]

Then And Now

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When battles were fought With a chivalrous sense of Should and Ought, In spirit men said, “End we quick or dead, Honour is some reward! Let us fight fair–for our own best or worst; So, Gentlemen of the Guard, Fire first!” In the open they stood, Man to man in his knightlihood: They would not […]

AFTER THE PRUSSIAN INVASION OF BELGIUM “Instigator of the ruin – Whichsoever thou mayst be Of the masterful of Europe That contrived our misery – Hear the wormwood-worded greeting From each city, shore, and lea Of thy victims: “Conqueror, all hail to thee!” “Yea: ‘All hail!’ we grimly shout thee That wast author, fount, and […]

(in Memoriam F. W. G.) Orion swung southward aslant Where the starved Egdon pine-trees had thinned, The Pleiads aloft seemed to pant With the heather that twitched in the wind; But he looked on indifferent to sights such as these, Unswayed by love, friendship, home joy or home sorrow, And wondered to what he would […]

I Only a man harrowing clods In a slow silent walk With an old horse that stumbles and nods Half asleep as they stalk. II Only thin smoke without flame From the heaps of couch-grass; Yet this will go onward the same Though Dynasties pass. III Yonder a maid and her wight Come whispering by: […]

The Pity Of It

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

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,” “Ich woll,” “Er sholl,” and by-talk similar, Nigh as they speak who in this month’s moon gird At England’s very loins, thereunto spurred By […]

“Would that I’d not drawn breath here!” some one said, “To stalk upon this stage of evil deeds, Where purposelessly month by month proceeds A play so sorely shaped and blood-bespread.” Yet had his spark not quickened, but lain dead To the gross spectacles of this our day, And never put on the proffered cloak […]

ON BEHALF OF THE BELGIAN DESTITUTE Seven millions stand Emaciate, in that ancient Delta-land:- We here, full-charged with our own maimed and dead, And coiled in throbbing conflicts slow and sore, Can poorly soothe these ails unmerited Of souls forlorn upon the facing shore! – Where naked, gaunt, in endless band on band Seven millions […]

“O England, may God punish thee!” – Is it that Teuton genius flowers Only to breathe malignity Upon its friend of earlier hours? – We have eaten your bread, you have eaten ours, We have loved your burgs, your pines’ green moan, Fair Rhine-stream, and its storied towers; Your shining souls of deathless dowers Have […]

I dreamt that people from the Land of Chimes Arrived one autumn morning with their bells, To hoist them on the towers and citadels Of my own country, that the musical rhymes Rung by them into space at meted times Amid the market’s daily stir and stress, And the night’s empty star-lit silentness, Might solace […]

What of the faith and fire within us Men who march away Ere the barn-cocks say Night is growing gray, Leaving all that here can win us; What of the faith and fire within us Men who march away? Is it a purblind prank, O think you, Friend with the musing eye, Who watch us […]

His Country

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

[He travels southward, and looks around;] I journeyed from my native spot Across the south sea shine, And found that people in hall and cot Laboured and suffered each his lot Even as I did mine. [and cannot discern the boundary] Thus noting them in meads and marts It did not seem to me That […]

For Life I had never cared greatly, As worth a man’s while; Peradventures unsought, Peradventures that finished in nought, Had kept me from youth and through manhood till lately Unwon by its style. In earliest years–why I know not – I viewed it askance; Conditions of doubt, Conditions that leaked slowly out, May haply have […]

He often would ask us That, when he died, After playing so many To their last rest, If out of us any Should here abide, And it would not task us, We would with our lutes Play over him By his grave-brim The psalm he liked best – The one whose sense suits “Mount Ephraim” […]

At a lonely cross where bye-roads met I sat upon a gate; I saw the sun decline and set, And still was fain to wait. A trotting boy passed up the way And roused me from my thought; I called to him, and showed where lay A spot I shyly sought. “A summer-house fair stands […]

“It is sad that so many of worth, Still in the flesh,” soughed the yew, “Misjudge their lot whom kindly earth Secludes from view. “They ride their diurnal round Each day-span’s sum of hours In peerless ease, without jolt or bound Or ache like ours. “If the living could but hear What is heard by […]

“These Gothic windows, how they wear me out With cusp and foil, and nothing straight or square, Crude colours, leaden borders roundabout, And fitting in Peter here, and Matthew there! “What a vocation! Here do I draw now The abnormal, loving the Hellenic norm; Martha I paint, and dream of Hera’s brow, Mary, and think […]

But don’t you know it, my dear, Don’t you know it, That this day of the year (What rainbow-rays embow it!) We met, strangers confessed, But parted–blest? Though at this query, my dear, There in your frame Unmoved you still appear, You must be thinking the same, But keep that look demure Just to allure. […]

An Upbraiding

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Now I am dead you sing to me The songs we used to know, But while I lived you had no wish Or care for doing so. Now I am dead you come to me In the moonlight, comfortless; Ah, what would I have given alive To win such tenderness! When you are dead, and […]

I have done all I could For that lady I knew! Through the heats I have shaded her, Drawn to her songsters when summer has jaded her, Home from the heath or the wood. At the mirth-time of May, When my shadow first lured her, I’d donned my new bravery Of greenth: ’twas my all. […]

In The Garden

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(M. H.) We waited for the sun To break its cloudy prison (For day was not yet done, And night still unbegun) Leaning by the dial. After many a trial – We all silent there – It burst as new-arisen, Throwing a shade to where Time travelled at that minute. Little saw we in it, […]

“A spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up.” And the Spirit said, “I can make the clock of the years go backward, But am loth to stop it where you will.” And I cried, “Agreed To that. Proceed: It’s better than dead!” He answered, “Peace”; And called her up–as last […]

At The Piano

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A woman was playing, A man looking on; And the mould of her face, And her neck, and her hair, Which the rays fell upon Of the two candles there, Sent him mentally straying In some fancy-place Where pain had no trace. A cowled Apparition Came pushing between; And her notes seemed to sigh, And […]

I went by the Druid stone That broods in the garden white and lone, And I stopped and looked at the shifting shadows That at some moments fall thereon From the tree hard by with a rhythmic swing, And they shaped in my imagining To the shade that a well-known head and shoulders Threw there […]

No; no; It must not be so: They are the ways we do not go. Still chew The kine, and moo In the meadows we used to wander through; Still purl The rivulets and curl Towards the weirs with a musical swirl; Haymakers As in former years Rake rolls into heaps that the pitchfork rears; […]

Signs And Tokens

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Said the red-cloaked crone In a whispered moan: “The dead man was limp When laid in his chest; Yea, limp; and why But to signify That the grave will crimp Ere next year’s sun Yet another one Of those in that house – It may be the best – For its endless drowse!” Said the […]

On The Doorstep

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The rain imprinted the step’s wet shine With target-circles that quivered and crossed As I was leaving this porch of mine; When from within there swelled and paused A song’s sweet note; And back I turned, and thought, “Here I’ll abide.” The step shines wet beneath the rain, Which prints its circles as heretofore; I […]

Imaginings

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

She saw herself a lady With fifty frocks in wear, And rolling wheels, and rooms the best, And faithful maidens’ care, And open lawns and shady For weathers warm or drear. She found herself a striver, All liberal gifts debarred, With days of gloom, and movements stressed, And early visions marred, And got no man […]

He saw the portrait of his enemy, offered At auction in a street he journeyed nigh, That enemy, now late dead, who in his life-time Had injured deeply him the passer-by. “To get that picture, pleased be God, I’ll try, And utterly destroy it; and no more Shall be inflicted on man’s mortal eye A […]

It was when Whirls of thick waters laved me Again and again, That something arose and saved me; Yea, it was then. In that day Unseeing the azure went I On my way, And to white winter bent I, Knowing no May. Reft of renown, Under the night clouds beating Up and down, In my […]

That whisper takes the voice Of a Spirit’s compassionings Close, but invisible, And throws me under a spell At the kindling vision it brings; And for a moment I rejoice, And believe in transcendent things That would mould from this muddy earth A spot for the splendid birth Of everlasting lives, Whereto no night arrives; […]

Old Excursions

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“What’s the good of going to Ridgeway, Cerne, or Sydling Mill, Or to Yell’ham Hill, Blithely bearing Casterbridge-way As we used to do? She will no more climb up there, Or be visible anywhere In those haunts we knew.” But to-night, while walking weary, Near me seemed her shade, Come as ’twere to upbraid This […]

The Masked Face

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I found me in a great surging space, At either end a door, And I said: “What is this giddying place, With no firm-fixed floor, That I knew not of before?” “It is Life,” said a mask-clad face. I asked: “But how do I come here, Who never wished to come; Can the light and […]

The Clock-Winder

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

It is dark as a cave, Or a vault in the nave When the iron door Is closed, and the floor Of the church relaid With trowel and spade. But the parish-clerk Cares not for the dark As he winds in the tower At a regular hour The rheumatic clock, Whose dilatory knock You can […]

In A Waiting-Room

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

On a morning sick as the day of doom With the drizzling gray Of an English May, There were few in the railway waiting-room. About its walls were framed and varnished Pictures of liners, fly-blown, tarnished. The table bore a Testament For travellers’ reading, if suchwise bent. I read it on and on, And, thronging […]

The Nettles

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

This, then, is the grave of my son, Whose heart she won! And nettles grow Upon his mound; and she lives just below. How he upbraided me, and left, And our lives were cleft, because I said She was hard, unfeeling, caring but to wed. Well, to see this sight I have fared these miles, […]

(She, alone) I rose and went to Rou’tor Town With gaiety and good heart, And ardour for the start, That morning ere the moon was down That lit me off to Rou’tor Town With gaiety and good heart. When sojourn soon at Rou’tor Town Wrote sorrows on my face, I strove that none should trace […]

In the third-class seat sat the journeying boy, And the roof-lamp’s oily flame Played down on his listless form and face, Bewrapt past knowing to what he was going, Or whence he came. In the band of his hat the journeying boy Had a ticket stuck; and a string Around his neck bore the key […]

At the shiver of morning, a little before the false dawn, The moon was at the window-square, Deedily brooding in deformed decay – The curve hewn off her cheek as by an adze; At the shiver of morning a little before the false dawn So the moon looked in there. Her speechless eyeing reached across […]

Fragment

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

At last I entered a long dark gallery, Catacomb-lined; and ranged at the side Were the bodies of men from far and wide Who, motion past, were nevertheless not dead. “The sense of waiting here strikes strong; Everyone’s waiting, waiting, it seems to me; What are you waiting for so long? – What is to […]

I thought, my Heart, that you had healed Of those sore smartings of the past, And that the summers had oversealed All mark of them at last. But closely scanning in the night I saw them standing crimson-bright Just as she made them: Nothing could fade them; Yea, I can swear That there they were […]

I should not have shown in the flesh, I ought to have gone as a ghost; It was awkward, unseemly almost, Standing solidly there as when fresh, Pink, tiny, crisp-curled, My pinions yet furled From the winds of the world. After waiting so many a year To wait longer, and go as a sprite From […]

No use hoping, or feeling vext, Tugged by a force above or under Like some fantocine, much I wonder What I shall find me doing next! Shall I be rushing where bright eyes be? Shall I be suffering sorrows seven? Shall I be watching the stars of heaven, Thinking one of them looks like thee? […]

Jubilate

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“The very last time I ever was here,” he said, “I saw much less of the quick than I saw of the dead.” – He was a man I had met with somewhere before, But how or when I now could recall no more. “The hazy mazy moonlight at one in the morning Spread out […]

There was a glorious time At an epoch of my prime; Mornings beryl-bespread, And evenings golden-red; Nothing gray: And in my heart I said, “However this chanced to be, It is too full for me, Too rare, too rapturous, rash, Its spell must close with a crash Some day!” The radiance went on Anon and […]

Everything Comes

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“The house is bleak and cold Built so new for me! All the winds upon the wold Search it through for me; No screening trees abound, And the curious eyes around Keep on view for me.” “My Love, I am planting trees As a screen for you Both from winds, and eyes that tease And […]

There was merry-making When the first dart fell As a heralding, – Till grinned the fully bared thing, And froze like a spell – Like a spell. Innocent was she, Innocent was I, Too simple we! Before us we did not see, Nearing, aught wry – Aught wry! I can tell it not now, It […]

Warm yellowy-green In the blue serene, How they skip and sway On this autumn day! They cannot know What has happened below, – That their boughs down there Are already quite bare, That their own will be When a week has passed, – For they jig as in glee To this very last. But no; […]

“It never looks like summer here On Beeny by the sea.” But though she saw its look as drear, Summer it seemed to me. It never looks like summer now Whatever weather’s there; But ah, it cannot anyhow, On Beeny or elsewhere! BOSCASTLE, March 8, 1913.

Paying Calls

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I went by footpath and by stile Beyond where bustle ends, Strayed here a mile and there a mile And called upon some friends. On certain ones I had not seen For years past did I call, And then on others who had been The oldest friends of all. It was the time of midsummer […]

Her Love-Birds

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When I looked up at my love-birds That Sunday afternoon, There was in their tiny tune A dying fetch like broken words, When I looked up at my love-birds That Sunday afternoon. When he, too, scanned the love-birds On entering there that day, ‘Twas as if he had nought to say Of his long journey […]

“Why do you weep there, O sweet lady, Why do you weep before that brass? – (I’m a mere student sketching the mediaeval) Is some late death lined there, alas? – Your father’s? . . . Well, all pay the debt that paid he!” “Young man, O must I tell!–My husband’s! And under His name […]

At A Country Fair

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

At a bygone Western country fair I saw a giant led by a dwarf With a red string like a long thin scarf; How much he was the stronger there The giant seemed unaware. And then I saw that the giant was blind, And the dwarf a shrewd-eyed little thing; The giant, mild, timid, obeyed […]

“Who’s in the next room?–who? I seemed to see Somebody in the dawning passing through, Unknown to me.” “Nay: you saw nought. He passed invisibly.” “Who’s in the next room?–who? I seem to hear Somebody muttering firm in a language new That chills the ear.” “No: you catch not his tongue who has entered there.” […]

The Pedestrian

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

AN INCIDENT OF 1883 “Sir, will you let me give you a ride? Nox Venit, and the heath is wide.” – My phaeton-lantern shone on one Young, fair, even fresh, But burdened with flesh: A leathern satchel at his side, His breathings short, his coat undone. ‘Twas as if his corpulent figure slopped With the […]

(Young Lover’s Reverie) I went and stood outside myself, Spelled the dark sky And ship-lights nigh, And grumbling winds that passed thereby. Then next inside myself I looked, And there, above All, shone my Love, That nothing matched the image of. Beyond myself again I ranged; And saw the free Life by the sea, And […]

Looking Across

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I It is dark in the sky, And silence is where Our laughs rang high; And recall do I That One is out there. II The dawn is not nigh, And the trees are bare, And the waterways sigh That a year has drawn by, And Two are out there. III The wind drops to […]

The Christening

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Whose child is this they bring Into the aisle? – At so superb a thing The congregation smile And turn their heads awhile. Its eyes are blue and bright, Its cheeks like rose; Its simple robes unite Whitest of calicoes With lawn, and satin bows. A pride in the human race At this paragon Of […]

New Year’s Eve

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“I have finished another year,” said God, “In grey, green, white, and brown; I have strewn the leaf upon the sod, Sealed up the worm within the clod, And let the last sun down.” “And what’s the good of it?” I said. “What reasons made you call From formless void this earth we tread, When […]

A senseless school, where we must give Our lives that we may learn to live! A dolt is he who memorizes Lessons that leave no time for prizes. 16 W. P. V., 1866.

Coomb-Firtrees say that Life is a moan, And Clyffe-hill Clump says “Yea!” But Yell’ham says a thing of its own: It’s not “Gray, gray Is Life alway!” That Yell’ham says, Nor that Life is for ends unknown. It says that Life would signify A thwarted purposing: That we come to live, and are called to […]

Forty years back, when much had place That since has perished out of mind, I heard that voice and saw that face. He spoke as one afoot will wind A morning horn ere men awake; His note was trenchant, turning kind. He was of those whose wit can shake And riddle to the very core […]

Wagtail And Baby

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A baby watched a ford, whereto A wagtail came for drinking; A blaring bull went wading through, The wagtail showed no shrinking. A stallion splashed his way across, The birdie nearly sinking; He gave his plumes a twitch and toss, And held his own unblinking. Next saw the baby round the spot A mongrel slowly […]

“And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.”–Isaiah xxxiii. 6. I looked and thought, “All is too gray and cold To wake my place-enthusiasms of old!” Till a voice passed: “Behind that granite mien Lurks the imposing beauty of a Queen.” I looked anew; and saw the radiant form Of Her who […]

Unrealized

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Down comes the winter rain – Spoils my hat and bow – Runs into the poll of me; But mother won’t know. We’ve been out and caught a cold, Knee-deep in snow; Such a lucky thing it is That mother won’t know! Rosy lost herself last night – Couldn’t tell where to go. Yes–it rather […]

(“It being deposed that vij women who were mayds before he knew them have been brought upon the towne [rates?] by the fornicacions of one Ralph Blossom, Mr Major inquired why he should not contribute xiv pence weekly toward their mayntenance. But it being shewn that the sayd R. B. was dying of a purple […]

(Circa 1790) I “We moved with pensive paces, I and he, And bent our faded faces Wistfully, For something troubled him, and troubled me. “The lanthorn feebly lightened Our grey hall, Where ancient brands had brightened Hearth and wall, And shapes long vanished whither vanish all. “‘O why, Love, nightly, daily,’ I had said, ‘Dost […]

The Man He Killed

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Had he and I but met By some old ancient inn, We should have sat us down to wet Right many a nipperkin! “But ranged as infantry, And staring face to face, I shot at him as he at me, And killed him in his place. “I shot him dead because – Because he was […]

(A MEMORY OF CHRISTIANA C-) Where Blackmoor was, the road that led To Bath, she could not show, Nor point the sky that overspread Towns ten miles off or so. But that Calcutta stood this way, Cape Horn there figured fell, That here was Boston, here Bombay, She could declare full well. Less known to […]

The Unborn

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

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 haste its advent morn. Their eyes were lit with artless trust, Hope thrilled their every tone; “A scene the loveliest, is it not? A […]

To Sincerity

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

O sweet sincerity! – Where modern methods be What scope for thine and thee? Life may be sad past saying, Its greens for ever graying, Its faiths to dust decaying; And youth may have foreknown it, And riper seasons shown it, But custom cries: “Disown it: “Say ye rejoice, though grieving, Believe, while unbelieving, Behold, […]

Panthera

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(For other forms of this legend–first met with in the second century–see Origen contra Celsum; the Talmud; Sepher Toldoth Jeschu; quoted fragments of lost Apocryphal gospels; Strauss, Haeckel; etc.) Yea, as I sit here, crutched, and cricked, and bent, I think of Panthera, who underwent Much from insidious aches in his decline; But his aches […]

A time there was–as one may guess And as, indeed, earth’s testimonies tell – Before the birth of consciousness, When all went well. None suffered sickness, love, or loss, None knew regret, starved hope, or heart-burnings; None cared whatever crash or cross Brought wrack to things. If something ceased, no tongue bewailed, If something winced […]

God’s Education

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I saw him steal the light away That haunted in her eye: It went so gently none could say More than that it was there one day And missing by-and-by. I watched her longer, and he stole Her lily tincts and rose; All her young sprightliness of soul Next fell beneath his cold control, And […]

There was a time in former years – While my roof-tree was his – When I should have been distressed by fears At such a night as this! I should have murmured anxiously, “The pricking rain strikes cold; His road is bare of hedge or tree, And he is getting old.” But now the fitful […]

A Wet Night

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I pace along, the rain-shafts riddling me, Mile after mile out by the moorland way, And up the hill, and through the ewe-leaze gray Into the lane, and round the corner tree; Where, as my clothing clams me, mire-bestarred, And the enfeebled light dies out of day, Leaving the liquid shades to reign, I say, […]

The Dear

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I plodded to Fairmile Hill-top, where A maiden one fain would guard From every hazard and every care Advanced on the roadside sward. I wondered how succeeding suns Would shape her wayfarings, And wished some Power might take such ones Under Its warding wings. The busy breeze came up the hill And smartened her cheek […]

One We Knew

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(M. H. 1772-1857) She told how they used to form for the country dances – “The Triumph,” “The New-rigged Ship” – To the light of the guttering wax in the panelled manses, And in cots to the blink of a dip. She spoke of the wild “poussetting” and “allemanding” On carpet, on oak, and on […]

The Pine Planters

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(MARTY SOUTH’S REVERIE) I We work here together In blast and breeze; He fills the earth in, I hold the trees. He does not notice That what I do Keeps me from moving And chills me through. He has seen one fairer I feel by his eye, Which skims me as though I were not […]

(J. H. 1813-1904) There’s no more to be done, or feared, or hoped; None now need watch, speak low, and list, and tire; No irksome crease outsmoothed, no pillow sloped Does she require. Blankly we gaze. We are free to go or stay; Our morrow’s anxious plans have missed their aim; Whether we leave to-night […]

In Childbed

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

In the middle of the night Mother’s spirit came and spoke to me, Looking weariful and white – As ’twere untimely news she broke to me. “O my daughter, joyed are you To own the weetless child you mother there; ‘Men may search the wide world through,’ You think, ‘nor find so fair another there!’ […]

When the wasting embers redden the chimney-breast, And Life’s bare pathway looms like a desert track to me, And from hall and parlour the living have gone to their rest, My perished people who housed them here come back to me. They come and seat them around in their mouldy places, Now and then bending […]

The Rambler

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I do not see the hills around, Nor mark the tints the copses wear; I do not note the grassy ground And constellated daisies there. I hear not the contralto note Of cuckoos hid on either hand, The whirr that shakes the nighthawk’s throat When eve’s brown awning hoods the land. Some say each songster, […]

The Reminder

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I While I watch the Christmas blaze Paint the room with ruddy rays, Something makes my vision glide To the frosty scene outside. There, to reach a rotting berry, Toils a thrush,–constrained to very Dregs of food by sharp distress, Taking such with thankfulness. Why, O starving bird, when I One day’s joy would justify, […]

Gilbert had sailed to India’s shore, And I was all alone: My lord came in at my open door And said, “O fairest one!” He leant upon the slant bureau, And sighed, “I am sick for thee!” “My lord,” said I, “pray speak not so, Since wedded wife I be.” Leaning upon the slant bureau, […]

The Roman Road

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The Roman Road runs straight and bare As the pale parting-line in hair Across the heath. And thoughtful men Contrast its days of Now and Then, And delve, and measure, and compare; Visioning on the vacant air Helmed legionaries, who proudly rear The Eagle, as they pace again The Roman Road. But no tall brass-helmed […]

“War ends, and he’s returning Early; yea, The evening next to-morrow’s!” – –This I say To her, whom I suspiciously survey, Holding my husband’s letter To her view. – She glanced at it but lightly, And I knew That one from him that day had reached her too. There was no time for scruple; Secretly […]

A Dream Question

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“It shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine.” Micah iii. 6. I asked the Lord: “Sire, is this true Which hosts of theologians hold, That when we creatures censure you For shaping griefs and ails untold (Deeming them punishments undue) You rage, as Moses wrote of old? When we exclaim: ‘Beneficent He […]

By The Barrows

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Not far from Mellstock–so tradition saith – Where barrows, bulging as they bosoms were Of Multimammia stretched supinely there, Catch night and noon the tempest’s wanton breath, A battle, desperate doubtless unto death, Was one time fought. The outlook, lone and bare, The towering hawk and passing raven share, And all the upland round is […]

The Dead Quire

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Beside the Mead of Memories, Where Church-way mounts to Moaning Hill, The sad man sighed his phantasies: He seems to sigh them still. II “‘Twas the Birth-tide Eve, and the hamleteers Made merry with ancient Mellstock zest, But the Mellstock quire of former years Had entered into rest. III “Old Dewy lay by the […]

A Church Romance

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(MELLSTOCK circa 1835) She turned in the high pew, until her sight Swept the west gallery, and caught its row Of music-men with viol, book, and bow Against the sinking sad tower-window light. She turned again; and in her pride’s despite One strenuous viol’s inspirer seemed to throw A message from his string to her […]

The Rash Bride

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

AN EXPERIENCE OF THE MELLSTOCK QUIRE I We Christmas-carolled down the Vale, and up the Vale, and round the Vale, We played and sang that night as we were yearly wont to do – A carol in a minor key, a carol in the major D, Then at each house: “Good wishes: many Christmas joys […]

The Homecoming

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Gruffly growled the wind on Toller downland broad and bare, And lonesome was the house, and dark; and few came there. “Now don’t ye rub your eyes so red; we’re home and have no cares; Here’s a skimmer-cake for supper, peckled onions, and some pears; I’ve got a little keg o’ summat strong, too, under […]

Rose-Ann

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Why didn’t you say you was promised, Rose-Ann? Why didn’t you name it to me, Ere ever you tempted me hither, Rose-Ann, So often, so wearifully? O why did you let me be near ‘ee, Rose-Ann, Talking things about wedlock so free, And never by nod or by whisper, Rose-Ann, Give a hint that it […]

“Can anything avail Beldame, for my hid grief? – Listen: I’ll tell the tale, It may bring faint relief! – “I came where I was not known, In hope to flee my sin; And walking forth alone A young man said, ‘Good e’en.’ “In gentle voice and true He asked to marry me; ‘You only–only […]

The Fiddler

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The fiddler knows what’s brewing To the lilt of his lyric wiles: The fiddler knows what rueing Will come of this night’s smiles! He sees couples join them for dancing, And afterwards joining for life, He sees them pay high for their prancing By a welter of wedded strife. He twangs: “Music hails from the […]

I One mile more is Where your door is Mother mine! – Harvest’s coming, Mills are strumming, Apples fine, And the cider made to-year will be as wine. II Yet, not viewing What’s a-doing Here around Is it thrills me, And so fills me That I bound Like a ball or leaf or lamb along […]

Let Me Enjoy

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(MINOR KEY) I Let me enjoy the earth no less Because the all-enacting Might That fashioned forth its loveliness Had other aims than my delight. II About my path there flits a Fair, Who throws me not a word or sign; I’ll charm me with her ignoring air, And laud the lips not meant for […]

I I pitched my day’s leazings in Crimmercrock Lane, To tie up my garter and jog on again, When a dear dark-eyed gentleman passed there and said, In a way that made all o’ me colour rose-red, “What do I see – O pretty knee!” And he came and he tied up my garter for […]

I THE BALLAD-SINGER Sing, Ballad-singer, raise a hearty tune; Make me forget that there was ever a one I walked with in the meek light of the moon When the day’s work was done. Rhyme, Ballad-rhymer, start a country song; Make me forget that she whom I loved well Swore she would love me dearly, […]

I wanted to marry, but father said, “No – ‘Tis weakness in women to give themselves so; If you care for your freedom you’ll listen to me, Make a spouse in your pocket, and let the men be.” I spake on’t again and again: father cried, “Why–if you go husbanding, where shall I bide? For […]

To Carrey Clavel

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

You turn your back, you turn your back, And never your face to me, Alone you take your homeward track, And scorn my company. What will you do when Charley’s seen Dewbeating down this way? – You’ll turn your back as now, you mean? Nay, Carrey Clavel, nay! You’ll see none’s looking; put your lip […]

Julie-Jane

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Sing; how ‘a would sing! How ‘a would raise the tune When we rode in the waggon from harvesting By the light o’ the moon! Dance; how ‘a would dance! If a fiddlestring did but sound She would hold out her coats, give a slanting glance, And go round and round. Laugh; how ‘a would […]

The Spring Call

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Down Wessex way, when spring’s a-shine, The blackbird’s “pret-ty de-urr!” In Wessex accents marked as mine Is heard afar and near. He flutes it strong, as if in song No R’s of feebler tone Than his appear in “pretty dear,” Have blackbirds ever known. Yet they pipe “prattie deerh!” I glean, Beneath a Scottish sky, […]

Misconception

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I busied myself to find a sure Snug hermitage That should preserve my Love secure From the world’s rage; Where no unseemly saturnals, Or strident traffic-roars, Or hum of intervolved cabals Should echo at her doors. I laboured that the diurnal spin Of vanities Should not contrive to suck her in By dark degrees, And […]

I thought and thought of thy crass clanging town To folly, till convinced such dreams were ill, I held my heart in bond, and tethered down Fancy to where I was, by force of will. I said: How beautiful are these flowers, this wood, One little bud is far more sweet to me Than all […]

I When the thorn on the down Quivers naked and cold, And the mid-aged and old Pace the path there to town, In these words dry and drear It seems to them sighing: “O winter is trying To sojourners here!” II When it stands fully tressed On a hot summer day, And the ewes there […]

Did he who drew her in the years ago – Till now conceived creator of her grace – With telescopic sight high natures know, Discern remote in Time’s untravelled space Your soft sweet mien, your gestures, as do we, And with a copyist’s hand but set them down, Glowing yet more to dream our ecstasy […]

Her Confession

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

As some bland soul, to whom a debtor says “I’ll now repay the amount I owe to you,” In inward gladness feigns forgetfulness That such a payment ever was his due (His long thought notwithstanding), so did I At our last meeting waive your proffered kiss With quick divergent talk of scenery nigh, By such […]

He Abjures Love

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

At last I put off love, For twice ten years The daysman of my thought, And hope, and doing; Being ashamed thereof, And faint of fears And desolations, wrought In his pursuing, Since first in youthtime those Disquietings That heart-enslavement brings To hale and hoary, Became my housefellows, And, fool and blind, I turned from […]

The grey gaunt days dividing us in twain Seemed hopeless hills my strength must faint to climb, But they are gone; and now I would detain The few clock-beats that part us; rein back Time, And live in close expectance never closed In change for far expectance closed at last, So harshly has expectance been […]

To An Actress

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I read your name when you were strange to me, Where it stood blazoned bold with many more; I passed it vacantly, and did not see Any great glory in the shape it wore. O cruelty, the insight barred me then! Why did I not possess me with its sound, And in its cadence catch […]

That was once her casement, And the taper nigh, Shining from within there, Beckoned, “Here am I!” Now, as then, I see her Moving at the pane; Ah; ’tis but her phantom Borne within my brain! – Foremost in my vision Everywhere goes she; Change dissolves the landscapes, She abides with me. Shape so sweet […]

In the vaulted way, where the passage turned To the shadowy corner that none could see, You paused for our parting,–plaintively; Though overnight had come words that burned My fond frail happiness out of me. And then I kissed you,–despite my thought That our spell must end when reflection came On what you had deemed […]

The Sigh

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Little head against my shoulder, Shy at first, then somewhat bolder, And up-eyed; Till she, with a timid quaver, Yielded to the kiss I gave her; But, she sighed. That there mingled with her feeling Some sad thought she was concealing It implied. – Not that she had ceased to love me, None on earth […]

Indulge no more may we In this sweet-bitter pastime: The love-light shines the last time Between you, Dear, and me. There shall remain no trace Of what so closely tied us, And blank as ere love eyed us Will be our meeting-place. The flowers and thymy air, Will they now miss our coming? The dumbles […]

Here is your parents’ dwelling with its curtained windows telling Of no thought of us within it or of our arrival here; Their slumbers have been normal after one day more of formal Matrimonial commonplace and household life’s mechanic gear. I would be candid willingly, but dawn draws on so chillingly As to render further […]

The Conformers

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Yes; we’ll wed, my little fay, And you shall write you mine, And in a villa chastely gray We’ll house, and sleep, and dine. But those night-screened, divine, Stolen trysts of heretofore, We of choice ecstasies and fine Shall know no more. The formal faced cohue Will then no more upbraid With smiting smiles and […]

I told her when I left one day That whatsoever weight of care Might strain our love, Time’s mere assault Would work no changes there. And in the night she came to me, Toothless, and wan, and old, With leaden concaves round her eyes, And wrinkles manifold. I tremblingly exclaimed to her, “O wherefore do […]

The cold moon hangs to the sky by its horn, And centres its gaze on me; The stars, like eyes in reverie, Their westering as for a while forborne, Quiz downward curiously. Old Robert draws the backbrand in, The green logs steam and spit; The half-awakened sparrows flit From the riddled thatch; and owls begin […]

I drew the letter out, while gleamed The sloping sun from under a roof Of cloud whose verge rose visibly. The burning ball flung rays that seemed Stretched like a warp without a woof Across the levels of the lea To where I stood, and where they beamed As brightly on the page of proof […]

Her Definition

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I lingered through the night to break of day, Nor once did sleep extend a wing to me, Intently busied with a vast array Of epithets that should outfigure thee. Full-featured terms–all fitless–hastened by, And this sole speech remained: “That maiden mine!” – Debarred from due description then did I Perceive the indefinite phrase could […]

1967

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

In five-score summers! All new eyes, New minds, new modes, new fools, new wise; New woes to weep, new joys to prize; With nothing left of me and you In that live century’s vivid view Beyond a pinch of dust or two; A century which, if not sublime, Will show, I doubt not, at its […]

These people have not heard your name; No loungers in this placid place Have helped to bruit your beauty’s fame. The grey Cathedral, towards whose face Bend eyes untold, has met not yours; Your shade has never swept its base, Your form has never darked its doors, Nor have your faultless feet once thrown A […]

We kissed at the barrier; and passing through She left me, and moment by moment got Smaller and smaller, until to my view She was but a spot; A wee white spot of muslin fluff That down the diminishing platform bore Through hustling crowds of gentle and rough To the carriage door. Under the lamplight’s […]

The Division

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Rain on the windows, creaking doors, With blasts that besom the green, And I am here, and you are there, And a hundred miles between! O were it but the weather, Dear, O were it but the miles That summed up all our severance, There might be room for smiles. But that thwart thing betwixt […]

Her Father

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I met her, as we had privily planned, Where passing feet beat busily: She whispered: “Father is at hand! He wished to walk with me.” His presence as he joined us there Banished our words of warmth away; We felt, with cloudings of despair, What Love must lose that day. Her crimson lips remained unkissed, […]

I say, “I’ll seek her side Ere hindrance interposes;” But eve in midnight closes, And here I still abide. When darkness wears I see Her sad eyes in a vision; They ask, “What indecision Detains you, Love, from me? – “The creaking hinge is oiled, I have unbarred the backway, But you tread not the […]

Four Footprints

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Here are the tracks upon the sand Where stood last evening she and I – Pressed heart to heart and hand to hand; The morning sun has baked them dry. I kissed her wet face–wet with rain, For arid grief had burnt up tears, While reached us as in sleeping pain The distant gurgling of […]

At Waking

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When night was lifting, And dawn had crept under its shade, Amid cold clouds drifting Dead-white as a corpse outlaid, With a sudden scare I seemed to behold My Love in bare Hard lines unfold. Yea, in a moment, An insight that would not die Killed her old endowment Of charm that had capped all […]

We shall see her no more On the balcony, Smiling, while hurt, at the roar As of surging sea From the stormy sturdy band Who have doomed her lord’s cause, Though she waves her little hand As it were applause. Here will be candidates yet, And candidates’ wives, Fervid with zeal to set Their ideals […]

(17–) Here alone by the logs in my chamber, Deserted, decrepit – Spent flames limning ghosts on the wainscot Of friends I once knew – My drama and hers begins weirdly Its dumb re-enactment, Each scene, sigh, and circumstance passing In spectral review. – Wealth was mine beyond wish when I met her – The […]

A WORKHOUSE IRONY I I thought they’d be strangers aroun’ me, But she’s to be there! Let me jump out o’ waggon and go back and drown me At Pummery or Ten-Hatches Weir. II I thought: “Well, I’ve come to the Union – The workhouse at last – After honest hard work all the week, […]

Here by the baring bough Raking up leaves, Often I ponder how Springtime deceives, – I, an old woman now, Raking up leaves. Here in the avenue Raking up leaves, Lords’ ladies pass in view, Until one heaves Sighs at life’s russet hue, Raking up leaves! Just as my shape you see Raking up leaves, […]

I If seasons all were summers, And leaves would never fall, And hopping casement-comers Were foodless not at all, And fragile folk might be here That white winds bid depart; Then one I used to see here Would warm my wasted heart! II One frail, who, bravely tilling Long hours in gripping gusts, Was mastered […]

I Who now remembers Almack’s balls – Willis’s sometime named – In those two smooth-floored upper halls For faded ones so famed? Where as we trod to trilling sound The fancied phantoms stood around, Or joined us in the maze, Of the powdered Dears from Georgian years, Whose dust lay in sightless sealed-up biers, The […]

Close up the casement, draw the blind, Shut out that stealing moon, She wears too much the guise she wore Before our lutes were strewn With years-deep dust, and names we read On a white stone were hewn. Step not out on the dew-dashed lawn To view the Lady’s Chair, Immense Orion’s glittering form, The […]

They hail me as one living, But don’t they know That I have died of late years, Untombed although? I am but a shape that stands here, A pulseless mould, A pale past picture, screening Ashes gone cold. Not at a minute’s warning, Not in a loud hour, For me ceased Time’s enchantments In hall […]

I look into my glass, And view my wasting skin, And say, “Would God it came to pass My heart had shrunk as thin!” For then, I, undistrest By hearts grown cold to me, Could lonely wait my endless rest With equanimity. But Time, to make me grieve; Part steals, lets part abide; And shakes […]

The Two Rosalinds

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I The dubious daylight ended, And I walked the Town alone, unminding whither bound and why, As from each gaunt street and gaping square a mist of light ascended And dispersed upon the sky. II Files of evanescent faces Passed each other without heeding, in their travail, teen, or joy, Some in void unvisioned listlessness […]

(182-) I From Wynyard’s Gap the livelong day, The livelong day, We beat afoot the northward way We had travelled times before. The sun-blaze burning on our backs, Our shoulders sticking to our packs, By fosseway, fields, and turnpike tracks We skirted sad Sedge-Moor. II Full twenty miles we jaunted on, We jaunted on, – […]

The Revisitation

Story type: Theater

Read this story.

As I lay awake at night-time In an ancient country barrack known to ancient cannoneers, And recalled the hopes that heralded each seeming brave and bright time Of my primal purple years, Much it haunted me that, nigh there, I had borne my bitterest loss–when One who went, came not again; In a joyless hour […]

(circa 186-) I bore a daughter flower-fair, In Pydel Vale, alas for me; I joyed to mother one so rare, But dead and gone I now would be. Men looked and loved her as she grew, And she was won, alas for me; She told me nothing, but I knew, And saw that sorrow was […]

Bereft

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

In the black winter morning No light will be struck near my eyes While the clock in the stairway is warning For five, when he used to rise. Leave the door unbarred, The clock unwound, Make my lone bed hard – Would ’twere underground! When the summer dawns clearly, And the appletree-tops seem alight, Who […]

Here we broached the Christmas barrel, Pushed up the charred log-ends; Here we sang the Christmas carol, And called in friends. Time has tired me since we met here When the folk now dead were young, Since the viands were outset here And quaint songs sung. And the worm has bored the viol That used […]

John And Jane

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I He sees the world as a boisterous place Where all things bear a laughing face, And humorous scenes go hourly on, Does John. II They find the world a pleasant place Where all is ecstasy and grace, Where a light has risen that cannot wane, Do John and Jane. III They see as a […]

When I look forth at dawning, pool, Field, flock, and lonely tree, All seem to gaze at me Like chastened children sitting silent in a school; Their faces dulled, constrained, and worn, As though the master’s ways Through the long teaching days Their first terrestrial zest had chilled and overborne. And on them stirs, in […]

At An Inn

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When we as strangers sought Their catering care, Veiled smiles bespoke their thought Of what we were. They warmed as they opined Us more than friends – That we had all resigned For love’s dear ends. And that swift sympathy With living love Which quicks the world–maybe The spheres above, Made them our ministers, Moved […]

The Impercipient

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(AT A CATHEDRAL SERVICE) That from this bright believing band An outcast I should be, That faiths by which my comrades stand Seem fantasies to me, And mirage-mists their Shining Land, Is a drear destiny. Why thus my soul should be consigned To infelicity, Why always I must feel as blind To sights my brethren […]

The years have gathered grayly Since I danced upon this leaze With one who kindled gaily Love’s fitful ecstasies! But despite the term as teacher, I remain what I was then In each essential feature Of the fantasies of men. Yet I note the little chisel Of never-napping Time, Defacing ghast and grizzel The blazon […]

The Slow Nature

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(AN INCIDENT OF FROOM VALLEY) “Thy husband–poor, poor Heart!–is dead– Dead, out by Moreford Rise; A bull escaped the barton-shed, Gored him, and there he lies!” – “Ha, ha–go away! ‘Tis a tale, methink, Thou joker Kit!” laughed she. “I’ve known thee many a year, Kit Twink, And ever hast thou fooled me!” – “But, […]

FOR A. W. B. She sought the Studios, beckoning to her side An arch-designer, for she planned to build. He was of wise contrivance, deeply skilled In every intervolve of high and wide – Well fit to be her guide. “Whatever it be,” Responded he, With cold, clear voice, and cold, clear view, “In true […]

They had long met o’ Zundays–her true love and she – And at junketings, maypoles, and flings; But she bode wi’ a thirtover uncle, and he Swore by noon and by night that her goodman should be Naibour Sweatley–a gaffer oft weak at the knee From taking o’ sommat more cheerful than tea – Who […]

The Two Men

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

There were two youths of equal age, Wit, station, strength, and parentage; They studied at the selfsame schools, And shaped their thoughts by common rules. One pondered on the life of man, His hopes, his ending, and began To rate the Market’s sordid war As something scarce worth living for. “I’ll brace to higher aims,” […]

As evening shaped I found me on a moor Which sight could scarce sustain: The black lean land, of featureless contour, Was like a tract in pain. “This scene, like my own life,” I said, “is one Where many glooms abide; Toned by its fortune to a deadly dun – Lightless on every side. I […]

Friends Beyond

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

William Dewy, Tranter Reuben, Farmer Ledlow late at plough, Robert’s kin, and John’s, and Ned’s, And the Squire, and Lady Susan, lie in Mellstock churchyard now! “Gone,” I call them, gone for good, that group of local hearts and heads; Yet at mothy curfew-tide, And at midnight when the noon-heat breathes it back from walls […]

Unknowing

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When, soul in soul reflected, We breathed an aethered air, When we neglected All things elsewhere, And left the friendly friendless To keep our love aglow, We deemed it endless . . . –We did not know! When, by mad passion goaded, We planned to hie away, But, unforeboded, The storm-shafts gray So heavily down-pattered […]

To M. H. We passed where flag and flower Signalled a jocund throng; We said: “Go to, the hour Is apt!”–and joined the song; And, kindling, laughed at life and care, Although we knew no laugh lay there. We walked where shy birds stood Watching us, wonder-dumb; Their friendship met our mood; We cried: “We’ll […]

Thoughts Of Phena

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

AT NEWS OF HER DEATH Not a line of her writing have I, Not a thread of her hair, No mark of her late time as dame in her dwelling, whereby I may picture her there; And in vain do I urge my unsight To conceive my lost prize At her close, whom I knew […]

To Outer Nature

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Show thee as I thought thee When I early sought thee, Omen-scouting, All undoubting Love alone had wrought thee – Wrought thee for my pleasure, Planned thee as a measure For expounding And resounding Glad things that men treasure. O for but a moment Of that old endowment – Light to gaily See thy daily […]

Now that my page upcloses, doomed, maybe, Never to press thy cosy cushions more, Or wake thy ready Yeas as heretofore, Or stir thy gentle vows of faith in me: Knowing thy natural receptivity, I figure that, as flambeaux banish eve, My sombre image, warped by insidious heave Of those less forthright, must lose place […]

In A Wood

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

See “THE WOODLANDERS” Pale beech and pine-tree blue, Set in one clay, Bough to bough cannot you Bide out your day? When the rains skim and skip, Why mar sweet comradeship, Blighting with poison-drip Neighbourly spray? Heart-halt and spirit-lame, City-opprest, Unto this wood I came As to a nest; Dreaming that sylvan peace Offered the […]

Ah, child, thou art but half thy darling mother’s; Hers couldst thou wholly be, My light in thee would outglow all in others; She would relive to me. But niggard Nature’s trick of birth Bars, lest she overjoy, Renewal of the loved on earth Save with alloy. The Dame has no regard, alas, my maiden, […]

The Alarm

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(1803) See “The Trumpet-Major” IN MEMORY OF ONE OF THE WRITER’S FAMILY WHO WAS A VOLUNTEER DURING THE WAR WITH NAPOLEON In a ferny byway Near the great South-Wessex Highway, A homestead raised its breakfast-smoke aloft; The dew-damps still lay steamless, for the sun had made no sky-way, And twilight cloaked the croft. ‘Twas hard […]

To Jenny came a gentle youth From inland leazes lone, His love was fresh as apple-blooth By Parrett, Yeo, or Tone. And duly he entreated her To be his tender minister, And call him aye her own. Fair Jenny’s life had hardly been A life of modesty; At Casterbridge experience keen Of many loves had […]

‘Twas a death-bed summons, and forth I went By the way of the Western Wall, so drear On that winter night, and sought a gate – The home, by Fate, Of one I had long held dear. And there, as I paused by her tenement, And the trees shed on me their rime and hoar, […]

A Sign-Seeker

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I mark the months in liveries dank and dry, The noontides many-shaped and hued; I see the nightfall shades subtrude, And hear the monotonous hours clang negligently by. I view the evening bonfires of the sun On hills where morning rains have hissed; The eyeless countenance of the mist Pallidly rising when the summer droughts […]

(KHYBER PASS, 1842) A TRADITION OF J. B. L-, T. G. B-, AND J. L-. Three captains went to Indian wars, And only one returned: Their mate of yore, he singly wore The laurels all had earned. At home he sought the ancient aisle Wherein, untrumped of fame, The three had sat in pupilage, And […]

Her Immortality

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Upon a noon I pilgrimed through A pasture, mile by mile, Unto the place where I last saw My dead Love’s living smile. And sorrowing I lay me down Upon the heated sod: It seemed as if my body pressed The very ground she trod. I lay, and thought; and in a trance She came […]

My Cicely

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(17-) “Alive?”–And I leapt in my wonder, Was faint of my joyance, And grasses and grove shone in garments Of glory to me. “She lives, in a plenteous well-being, To-day as aforehand; The dead bore the name–though a rare one – The name that bore she.” She lived . . . I, afar in the […]

The Ivy-Wife

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I longed to love a full-boughed beech And be as high as he: I stretched an arm within his reach, And signalled unity. But with his drip he forced a breach, And tried to poison me. I gave the grasp of partnership To one of other race– A plane: he barked him strip by strip […]

Ditty

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(E. L G.) Beneath a knap where flown Nestlings play, Within walls of weathered stone, Far away From the files of formal houses, By the bough the firstling browses, Lives a Sweet: no merchants meet, No man barters, no man sells Where she dwells. Upon that fabric fair “Here is she!” Seems written everywhere Unto […]

She, To Him–IV

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

This love puts all humanity from me; I can but maledict her, pray her dead, For giving love and getting love of thee – Feeding a heart that else mine own had fed! How much I love I know not, life not known, Save as some unit I would add love by; But this I […]

Valenciennes

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(1793) BY CORP’L TULLIDGE: see “The Trumpet-Major” IN MEMORY OF S. C. (PENSIONER). DIED 184- We trenched, we trumpeted and drummed, And from our mortars tons of iron hummed Ath’art the ditch, the month we bombed The Town o’ Valencieen. ‘Twas in the June o’ Ninety-dree (The Duke o’ Yark our then Commander been) The […]

(1803) When Lawyers strive to heal a breach, And Parsons practise what they preach; Then Little Boney he’ll pounce down, And march his men on London town! Rollicum-rorum, tol-lol-lorum, Rollicum-rorum, tol-lol-lay! When Justices hold equal scales, And Rogues are only found in jails; Then Little Boney he’ll pounce down, And march his men on London […]

(As sung by MR. CHARLES CHARRINGTON in the play of “The Three Wayfarers”) O my trade it is the rarest one, Simple shepherds all – My trade is a sight to see; For my customers I tie, and take ’em up on high, And waft ’em to a far countree! My tools are but common […]

San Sebastian

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(August 1813) WITH THOUGHTS OF SERGEANT M- (PENSIONER), WHO DIED 185-. “Why, Sergeant, stray on the Ivel Way, As though at home there were spectres rife? From first to last ’twas a proud career! And your sunny years with a gracious wife Have brought you a daughter dear. “I watched her to-day; a more comely […]

Leipzig

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(1813) Scene: The Master-tradesmen’s Parlour at the Old Ship Inn, Casterbridge. Evening. “Old Norbert with the flat blue cap– A German said to be – Why let your pipe die on your lap, Your eyes blink absently?” – – “Ah! . . . Well, I had thought till my cheek was wet Of my mother–her […]

The Burghers

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(17-) The sun had wheeled from Grey’s to Dammer’s Crest, And still I mused on that Thing imminent: At length I sought the High-street to the West. The level flare raked pane and pediment And my wrecked face, and shaped my nearing friend Like one of those the Furnace held unshent. “I’ve news concerning her,” […]

“Si le marechal Grouchy avait ete rejoint par l’officier que Napoleon lui avait expedie la veille a dix heures du soir, toute question eut disparu. Mais cet officier n’etait point parvenu a sa destination, ainsi que le marechal n’a cesse de l’affirmer toute sa vie, et il faut l’en croire, car autrement il n’aurait eu […]

Neutral Tones

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

We stood by a pond that winter day, And the sun was white, as though chidden of God, And a few leaves lay on the starving sod, –They had fallen from an ash, and were gray. Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove Over tedious riddles solved years ago; And some words played […]

Her Initials

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Upon a poet’s page I wrote Of old two letters of her name; Part seemed she of the effulgent thought Whence that high singer’s rapture came. – When now I turn the leaf the same Immortal light illumes the lay, But from the letters of her name The radiance has died away! 1869.

They bear him to his resting-place – In slow procession sweeping by; I follow at a stranger’s space; His kindred they, his sweetheart I. Unchanged my gown of garish dye, Though sable-sad is their attire; But they stand round with griefless eye, Whilst my regret consumes like fire! 187-.

Revulsion

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Though I waste watches framing words to fetter Some spirit to mine own in clasp and kiss, Out of the night there looms a sense ’twere better To fail obtaining whom one fails to miss. For winning love we win the risk of losing, And losing love is as one’s life were riven; It cuts […]

Her Dilemma

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(IN — CHURCH) The two were silent in a sunless church, Whose mildewed walls, uneven paving-stones, And wasted carvings passed antique research; And nothing broke the clock’s dull monotones. Leaning against a wormy poppy-head, So wan and worn that he could scarcely stand, – For he was soon to die,–he softly said, “Tell me you […]

She, To Him–II

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Perhaps, long hence, when I have passed away, Some other’s feature, accent, thought like mine, Will carry you back to what I used to say, And bring some memory of your love’s decline. Then you may pause awhile and think, “Poor jade!” And yield a sigh to me–as ample due, Not as the tittle of […]

She, To Him–I

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When you shall see me in the toils of Time, My lauded beauties carried off from me, My eyes no longer stars as in their prime, My name forgot of Maiden Fair and Free; When in your being heart concedes to mind, And judgment, though you scarce its process know, Recalls the excellencies I once […]

She, To Him–III

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I will be faithful to thee; aye, I will! And Death shall choose me with a wondering eye That he did not discern and domicile One his by right ever since that last Good-bye! I have no care for friends, or kin, or prime Of manhood who deal gently with me here; Amid the happy […]

Change and chancefulness in my flowering youthtime, Set me sun by sun near to one unchosen; Wrought us fellow-like, and despite divergence, Friends interlinked us. “Cherish him can I while the true one forthcome – Come the rich fulfiller of my prevision; Life is roomy yet, and the odds unbounded.” So self-communed I. Thwart my […]

Hap

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

If but some vengeful god would call to me From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing, Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy, That thy love’s loss is my hate’s profiting!” Then would I bear, and clench myself, and die, Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited; Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than […]

Amabel

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I marked her ruined hues, Her custom-straitened views, And asked, “Can there indwell My Amabel?” I looked upon her gown, Once rose, now earthen brown; The change was like the knell Of Amabel. Her step’s mechanic ways Had lost the life of May’s; Her laugh, once sweet in swell, Spoilt Amabel. I mused: “Who sings […]

At A Bridal

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

TO – When you paced forth, to wait maternity, A dream of other offspring held my mind, Compounded of us twain as Love designed; Rare forms, that corporate now will never be! Should I, too, wed as slave to Mode’s decree, And each thus found apart, of false desire, A stolid line, whom no high […]

TO – In vision I roamed the flashing Firmament, So fierce in blazon that the Night waxed wan, As though with an awed sense of such ostent; And as I thought my spirit ranged on and on In footless traverse through ghast heights of sky, To the last chambers of the monstrous Dome, Where stars […]

Your troubles shrink not, though I feel them less Here, far away, than when I tarried near; I even smile old smiles–with listlessness – Yet smiles they are, not ghastly mockeries mere. A thought too strange to house within my brain Haunting its outer precincts I discern: – That I will not show zeal again […]

Postponement

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Snow-bound in woodland, a mournful word, Dropt now and then from the bill of a bird, Reached me on wind-wafts; and thus I heard, Wearily waiting:- “I planned her a nest in a leafless tree, But the passers eyed and twitted me, And said: ‘How reckless a bird is he, Cheerily mating!’ “Fear-filled, I stayed […]

The Abbey Mason

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(Inventor of the “Perpendicular” Style of Gothic Architecture) The new-vamped Abbey shaped apace In the fourteenth century of grace; (The church which, at an after date, Acquired cathedral rank and state.) Panel and circumscribing wall Of latest feature, trim and tall, Rose roundabout the Norman core In prouder pose than theretofore, Encasing magically the old […]

The Sacrilege

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A BALLAD-TRAGEDY (Circa 182-) PART I “I have a Love I love too well Where Dunkery frowns on Exon Moor; I have a Love I love too well, To whom, ere she was mine, ‘Such is my love for you,’ I said, ‘That you shall have to hood your head A silken kerchief crimson-red, Wove […]

Exeunt Omnes

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Everybody else, then, going, And I still left where the fair was? . . . Much have I seen of neighbour loungers Making a lusty showing, Each now past all knowing. II There is an air of blankness In the street and the littered spaces; Thoroughfare, steeple, bridge and highway Wizen themselves to lankness; […]

The Satin Shoes

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“If ever I walk to church to wed, As other maidens use, And face the gathered eyes,” she said, “I’ll go in satin shoes!” She was as fair as early day Shining on meads unmown, And her sweet syllables seemed to play Like flute-notes softly blown. The time arrived when it was meet That she […]

(To the Editor) Yes; your up-dated modern page – All flower-fresh, as it appears – Can claim a time-tried lineage, That reaches backward fifty years (Which, if but short for sleepy squires, Is much in magazines’ careers). – Here, on your cover, never tires The sower, reaper, thresher, while As through the seasons of our […]

(SONG OF THE SOLDIERS) What of the faith and fire within us Men who march away Ere the barn-cocks say Night is growing gray, To hazards whence no tears can win us; What of the faith and fire within us Men who march away? Is it a purblind prank, O think you, Friend with the […]

A Poet

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Attentive eyes, fantastic heed, Assessing minds, he does not need, Nor urgent writs to sup or dine, Nor pledges in the roseate wine. For loud acclaim he does not care By the august or rich or fair, Nor for smart pilgrims from afar, Curious on where his hauntings are. But soon or later, when you […]

The Sweet Hussy

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

In his early days he was quite surprised When she told him she was compromised By meetings and lingerings at his whim, And thinking not of herself but him; While she lifted orbs aggrieved and round That scandal should so soon abound, (As she had raised them to nine or ten Of antecedent nice young […]

The Moth-Signal

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(On Egdon Heath) “What are you still, still thinking,” He asked in vague surmise, “That stare at the wick unblinking With those great lost luminous eyes?” “O, I see a poor moth burning In the candle-flame,” said she, Its wings and legs are turning To a cinder rapidly.” “Moths fly in from the heather,” He […]

The Telegram

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“O he’s suffering–maybe dying–and I not there to aid, And smooth his bed and whisper to him! Can I nohow go? Only the nurse’s brief twelve words thus hurriedly conveyed, As by stealth, to let me know. “He was the best and brightest!–candour shone upon his brow, And I shall never meet again a soldier […]

The Two Soldiers

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Just at the corner of the wall We met–yes, he and I – Who had not faced in camp or hall Since we bade home good-bye, And what once happened came back–all – Out of those years gone by. And that strange woman whom we knew And loved–long dead and gone, Whose poor half-perished residue, […]

Seen By The Waits

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Through snowy woods and shady We went to play a tune To the lonely manor-lady By the light of the Christmas moon. We violed till, upward glancing To where a mirror leaned, We saw her airily dancing, Deeming her movements screened; Dancing alone in the room there, Thin-draped in her robe of night; Her postures, […]

A plain tilt-bonnet on her head She took the path across the leaze. – Her spouse the vicar, gardening, said, “Too dowdy that, for coquetries, So I can hoe at ease. But when she had passed into the heath, And gained the wood beyond the flat, She raised her skirts, and from beneath Unpinned and […]

I opened my shutter at sunrise, And looked at the hill hard by, And I heartily grieved for the comrade Who wandered up there to die. I let in the morn on the morrow, And failed not to think of him then, As he trod up that rise in the twilight, And never came down […]

The Workbox

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“See, here’s the workbox, little wife, That I made of polished oak.” He was a joiner, of village life; She came of borough folk. He holds the present up to her As with a smile she nears And answers to the profferer, “‘Twill last all my sewing years!” “I warrant it will. And longer too. […]

By Rome’s dim relics there walks a man, Eyes bent; and he carries a basket and spade; I guess what impels him to scrape and scan; Yea, his dreams of that Empire long decayed. “Vast was Rome,” he must muse, “in the world’s regard, Vast it looms there still, vast it ever will be;” And […]

“What do you see in that time-touched stone, When nothing is there But ashen blankness, although you give it A rigid stare? “You look not quite as if you saw, But as if you heard, Parting your lips, and treading softly As mouse or bird. “It is only the base of a pillar, they’ll tell […]

I dream that the dearest I ever knew Has died and been entombed. I am sure it’s a dream that cannot be true, But I am so overgloomed By its persistence, that I would gladly Have quick death take me, Rather than longer think thus sadly; So wake me, wake me! It has lasted days, […]

Had You Wept

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Had you wept; had you but neared me with a frail uncertain ray, Dewy as the face of the dawn, in your large and luminous eye, Then would have come back all the joys the tidings had slain that day, And a new beginning, a fresh fair heaven, have smoothed the things awry. But you […]

“More than half my life long Did they weigh me falsely, to my bitter wrong, But they all have shrunk away into the silence Like a lost song. “And the day has dawned and come For forgiveness, when the past may hold it dumb On the once reverberate words of hatred uttered Half in delirium […]

“Man, you too, aren’t you, one of these rough followers of the criminal? All hanging hereabout to gather how he’s going to bear Examination in the hall.” She flung disdainful glances on The shabby figure standing at the fire with others there, Who warmed them by its flare. “No indeed, my skipping maiden: I know […]

The Recalcitrants

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Let us off and search, and find a place Where yours and mine can be natural lives, Where no one comes who dissects and dives And proclaims that ours is a curious case, That its touch of romance can scarcely grace. You would think it strange at first, but then Everything has been strange in […]

"Regret Not Me"

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Regret not me; Beneath the sunny tree I lie uncaring, slumbering peacefully. Swift as the light I flew my faery flight; Ecstatically I moved, and feared no night. I did not know That heydays fade and go, But deemed that what was would be always so. I skipped at morn Between the yellowing corn, Thinking […]

The Moon Looks In

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I I have risen again, And awhile survey By my chilly ray Through your window-pane Your upturned face, As you think, “Ah-she Now dreams of me In her distant place!” II I pierce her blind In her far-off home: She fixes a comb, And says in her mind, “I start in an hour; Whom shall […]

“No smoke spreads out of this chimney-pot, The people who lived here have left the spot, And others are coming who knew them not. If you listen anon, with an ear intent, The voices, you’ll find, will be different From the well-known ones of those who went.” “Why did they go? Their tones so bland […]

He lay awake, with a harassed air, And she, in her cloud of loose lank hair, Seemed trouble-tried As the dawn drew in on their faces there. The chamber looked far over the sea From a white hotel on a white-stoned quay, And stepping a stride He parted the window-drapery. Above the level horizon spread […]

He paused on the sill of a door ajar That screened a lively liquor-bar, For the name had reached him through the door Of her he had married the week before. “We called her the Hack of the Parade; But she was discreet in the games she played; If slightly worn, she’s pretty yet, And […]

The Coronation

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

At Westminster, hid from the light of day, Many who once had shone as monarchs lay. Edward the Pious, and two Edwards more, The second Richard, Henrys three or four; That is to say, those who were called the Third, Fifth, Seventh, and Eighth (the much self-widowered), And James the Scot, and near him Charles […]

ON THE NIGHT OF HIS FUNERAL From the slow march and muffled drum And crowds distrest, And book and bell, at length I have come To my full rest. A ten years’ rule beneath the sun Is wound up here, And what I have done, what left undone, Figures out clear. Yet in the estimate […]

Here goes a man of seventy-four, Who sees not what life means for him, And here another in years a score Who reads its very figure and trim. The one who shall walk to-day with me Is not the youth who gazes far, But the breezy wight who cannot see What Earth’s ingrained conditions are.

Aquae Sulis

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The chimes called midnight, just at interlune, And the daytime talk of the Roman investigations Was checked by silence, save for the husky tune The bubbling waters played near the excavations. And a warm air came up from underground, And a flutter, as of a filmy shape unsepulchred, That collected itself, and waited, and looked […]

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 Before I passed away. I visited my former Love As she lay by her husband’s side; I asked her if life pleased her, now She […]

The Elopement

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“A woman never agreed to it!” said my knowing friend to me. “That one thing she’d refuse to do for Solomon’s mines in fee: No woman ever will make herself look older than she is.” I did not answer; but I thought, “you err there, ancient Quiz.” It took a rare one, true, to do […]

A Week

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

On Monday night I closed my door, And thought you were not as heretofore, And little cared if we met no more. I seemed on Tuesday night to trace Something beyond mere commonplace In your ideas, and heart, and face. On Wednesday I did not opine Your life would ever be one with mine, Though […]

At Castle Boterel

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

As I drive to the junction of lane and highway, And the drizzle bedrenches the waggonette, I look behind at the fading byway, And see on its slope, now glistening wet, Distinctly yet Myself and a girlish form benighted In dry March weather. We climb the road Beside a chaise. We had just alighted To […]

I Queer are the ways of a man I know: He comes and stands In a careworn craze, And looks at the sands And the seaward haze, With moveless hands And face and gaze, Then turns to go . . . And what does he see when he gazes so? II They say he sees […]

Places

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Nobody says: Ah, that is the place Where chanced, in the hollow of years ago, What none of the Three Towns cared to know– The birth of a little girl of grace – The sweetest the house saw, first or last; Yet it was so On that day long past. Nobody thinks: There, there she […]

The Cheval-Glass

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Why do you harbour that great cheval-glass Filling up your narrow room? You never preen or plume, Or look in a week at your full-length figure – Picture of bachelor gloom! “Well, when I dwelt in ancient England, Renting the valley farm, Thoughtless of all heart-harm, I used to gaze at the parson’s daughter, A […]

“Why do you stand in the dripping rye, Cold-lipped, unconscious, wet to the knee, When there are firesides near?” said I. “I told him I wished him dead,” said she. “Yea, cried it in my haste to one Whom I had loved, whom I well loved still; And die he did. And I hate the […]

The Wistful Lady

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

‘Love, while you were away there came to me – From whence I cannot tell – A plaintive lady pale and passionless, Who bent her eyes upon me critically, And weighed me with a wearing wistfulness, As if she knew me well.” “I saw no lady of that wistful sort As I came riding home. […]

Her Secret

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

That love’s dull smart distressed my heart He shrewdly learnt to see, But that I was in love with a dead man Never suspected he. He searched for the trace of a pictured face, He watched each missive come, And a note that seemed like a love-line Made him look frozen and glum. He dogged […]

The Re-Enactment

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Between the folding sea-downs, In the gloom Of a wailful wintry nightfall, When the boom Of the ocean, like a hammering in a hollow tomb, Throbbed up the copse-clothed valley From the shore To the chamber where I darkled, Sunk and sore With gray ponderings why my Loved one had not come before To salute […]

"She Charged Me"

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

She charged me with having said this and that To another woman long years before, In the very parlour where we sat, – Sat on a night when the endless pour Of rain on the roof and the road below Bent the spring of the spirit more and more . . . – So charged […]

Lament

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

How she would have loved A party to-day! – Bright-hatted and gloved, With table and tray And chairs on the lawn Her smiles would have shone With welcomings . . . But She is shut, she is shut From friendship’s spell In the jailing shell Of her tiny cell. Or she would have reigned At […]

His Visitor

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I come across from Mellstock while the moon wastes weaker To behold where I lived with you for twenty years and more: I shall go in the gray, at the passing of the mail-train, And need no setting open of the long familiar door As before. The change I notice in my once own quarters! […]

The Haunter

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

He does not think that I haunt here nightly: How shall I let him know That whither his fancy sets him wandering I, too, alertly go? – Hover and hover a few feet from him Just as I used to do, But cannot answer his words addressed me – Only listen thereto! When I could […]

A Dream Or No

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Why go to Saint-Juliot? What’s Juliot to me? I was but made fancy By some necromancy That much of my life claims the spot as its key. Yes. I have had dreams of that place in the West, And a maiden abiding Thereat as in hiding; Fair-eyed and white-shouldered, broad-browed and brown-tressed. And of how, […]

A Circular

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

As “legal representative” I read a missive not my own, On new designs the senders give For clothes, in tints as shown. Here figure blouses, gowns for tea, And presentation-trains of state, Charming ball-dresses, millinery, Warranted up to date. And this gay-pictured, spring-time shout Of Fashion, hails what lady proud? Her who before last year […]

Beeny did not quiver, Juliot grew not gray, Thin Valency’s river Held its wonted way. Bos seemed not to utter Dimmest note of dirge, Targan mouth a mutter To its creamy surge. Yet though these, unheeding, Listless, passed the hour Of her spirit’s speeding, She had, in her flower, Sought and loved the places – […]

After A Journey

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Hereto I come to interview a ghost; Whither, O whither will its whim now draw me? Up the cliff, down, till I’m lonely, lost, And the unseen waters’ ejaculations awe me. Where you will next be there’s no knowing, Facing round about me everywhere, With your nut-coloured hair, And gray eyes, and rose-flush coming and […]

Beeny Cliff

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

March 1870–March 1913 I O the opal and the sapphire of that wandering western sea, And the woman riding high above with bright hair flapping free – The woman whom I loved so, and who loyally loved me. II The pale mews plained below us, and the waves seemed far away In a nether sky, […]

“Whenever I plunge my arm, like this, In a basin of water, I never miss The sweet sharp sense of a fugitive day Fetched back from its thickening shroud of gray. Hence the only prime And real love-rhyme That I know by heart, And that leaves no smart, Is the purl of a little valley […]

Slip back, Time! Yet again I am nearing Castle and keep, uprearing Gray, as in my prime. At the inn Smiling close, why is it Not as on my visit When hope and I were twin? Groom and jade Whom I found here, moulder; Strange the tavern-holder, Strange the tap-maid. Here I hired Horse and […]

“I mean to build a hall anon, And shape two turrets there, And a broad newelled stair, And a cool well for crystal water; Yes; I will build a hall anon, Plant roses love shall feed upon, And apple trees and pear.” He set to build the manor-hall, And shaped the turrets there, And the […]

Your Last Drive

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Here by the moorway you returned, And saw the borough lights ahead That lit your face–all undiscerned To be in a week the face of the dead, And you told of the charm of that haloed view That never again would beam on you. And on your left you passed the spot Where eight days […]

The Going

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Why did you give no hint that night That quickly after the morrow’s dawn, And calmly, as if indifferent quite, You would close your term here, up and be gone Where I could not follow With wing of swallow To gain one glimpse of you ever anon! Never to bid good-bye, Or give me the […]

I found her out there On a slope few see, That falls westwardly To the salt-edged air, Where the ocean breaks On the purple strand, And the hurricane shakes The solid land. I brought her here, And have laid her to rest In a noiseless nest No sea beats near. She will never be stirred […]

Rain On A Grave

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Clouds spout upon her Their waters amain In ruthless disdain, – Her who but lately Had shivered with pain As at touch of dishonour If there had lit on her So coldly, so straightly Such arrows of rain. She who to shelter Her delicate head Would quicken and quicken Each tentative tread If drops chanced […]

Without Ceremony

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

It was your way, my dear, To be gone without a word When callers, friends, or kin Had left, and I hastened in To rejoin you, as I inferred. And when you’d a mind to career Off anywhere–say to town – You were all on a sudden gone Before I had thought thereon, Or noticed […]

“It is not death that harrows us,” they lipped, “The soundless cell is in itself relief, For life is an unfenced flower, benumbed and nipped At unawares, and at its best but brief.” The speakers, sundry phantoms of the gone, Had risen like filmy flames of phosphor dye, As if the palest of sheet lightnings […]

I–AT TEA The kettle descants in a cozy drone, And the young wife looks in her husband’s face, And then at her guest’s, and shows in her own Her sense that she fills an envied place; And the visiting lady is all abloom, And says there was never so sweet a room. And the happy […]

“Ah, are you digging on my grave My loved one?–planting rue?” – “No: yesterday he went to wed One of the brightest wealth has bred. ‘It cannot hurt her now,’ he said, ‘That I should not be true.’” “Then who is digging on my grave? My nearest dearest kin?” – “Ah, no; they sit and […]

The Discovery

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I wandered to a crude coast Like a ghost; Upon the hills I saw fires – Funeral pyres Seemingly–and heard breaking Waves like distant cannonades that set the land shaking. And so I never once guessed A Love-nest, Bowered and candle-lit, lay In my way, Till I found a hid hollow, Where I burst on […]

Self-Unconscious

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Along the way He walked that day, Watching shapes that reveries limn, And seldom he Had eyes to see The moment that encompassed him. Bright yellowhammers Made mirthful clamours, And billed long straws with a bustling air, And bearing their load Flew up the road That he followed, alone, without interest there. From bank to […]

I Looking forward to the spring One puts up with anything. On this February day, Though the winds leap down the street, Wintry scourgings seem but play, And these later shafts of sleet –Sharper pointed than the first – And these later snows–the worst – Are as a half-transparent blind Riddled by rays from sun […]

Tolerance

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“It is a foolish thing,” said I, “To bear with such, and pass it by; Yet so I do, I know not why!” And at each clash I would surmise That if I had acted otherwise I might have saved me many sighs. But now the only happiness In looking back that I possess – […]

How do you know that the pilgrim track Along the belting zodiac Swept by the sun in his seeming rounds Is traced by now to the Fishes’ bounds And into the Ram, when weeks of cloud Have wrapt the sky in a clammy shroud, And never as yet a tinct of spring Has shown in […]

The ten hours’ light is abating, And a late bird flies across, Where the pines, like waltzers waiting, Give their black heads a toss. Beech leaves, that yellow the noon-time, Float past like specks in the eye; I set every tree in my June time, And now they obscure the sky. And the children who […]

There are some heights in Wessex, shaped as if by a kindly hand For thinking, dreaming, dying on, and at crises when I stand, Say, on Ingpen Beacon eastward, or on Wylls-Neck westwardly, I seem where I was before my birth, and after death may be. In the lowlands I have no comrade, not even […]

My spirit will not haunt the mound Above my breast, But travel, memory-possessed, To where my tremulous being found Life largest, best. My phantom-footed shape will go When nightfall grays Hither and thither along the ways I and another used to know In backward days. And there you’ll find me, if a jot You still […]

I I look upon the map that hangs by me – Its shires and towns and rivers lined in varnished artistry – And I mark a jutting height Coloured purple, with a margin of blue sea. II –‘Twas a day of latter summer, hot and dry; Ay, even the waves seemed drying as we walked […]

In Death Divided

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I I shall rot here, with those whom in their day You never knew, And alien ones who, ere they chilled to clay, Met not my view, Will in your distant grave-place ever neighbour you. II No shade of pinnacle or tree or tower, While earth endures, Will fall on my mound and within the […]

The Schreckhorn

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(With thoughts of Leslie Stephen) (June 1897) Aloof, as if a thing of mood and whim; Now that its spare and desolate figure gleams Upon my nearing vision, less it seems A looming Alp-height than a guise of him Who scaled its horn with ventured life and limb, Drawn on by vague imaginings, maybe, Of […]

Where we made the fire, In the summer time, Of branch and briar On the hill to the sea I slowly climb Through winter mire, And scan and trace The forsaken place Quite readily. Now a cold wind blows, And the grass is gray, But the spot still shows As a burnt circle–aye, And stick-ends, […]

A Plaint To Man

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When you slowly emerged from the den of Time, And gained percipience as you grew, And fleshed you fair out of shapeless slime, Wherefore, O Man, did there come to you The unhappy need of creating me – A form like your own–for praying to? My virtue, power, utility, Within my maker must all abide, […]

A Singer Asleep

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(Algernon Charles Swinburne, 1837-1909) I In this fair niche above the unslumbering sea, That sentrys up and down all night, all day, From cove to promontory, from ness to bay, The Fates have fitly bidden that he should be Pillowed eternally. II – It was as though a garland of red roses Had fallen about […]

God’s Funeral

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I I saw a slowly-stepping train – Lined on the brows, scoop-eyed and bent and hoar – Following in files across a twilit plain A strange and mystic form the foremost bore. II And by contagious throbs of thought Or latent knowledge that within me lay And had already stirred me, I was wrought To […]

We two kept house, the Past and I, The Past and I; I tended while it hovered nigh, Leaving me never alone. It was a spectral housekeeping Where fell no jarring tone, As strange, as still a housekeeping As ever has been known. As daily I went up the stair And down the stair, I […]

Whether to sally and see thee, girl of my dreams, Or whether to stay And see thee not! How vast the difference seems Of Yea from Nay Just now. Yet this same sun will slant its beams At no far day On our two mounds, and then what will the difference weigh! Yet I will […]

After The Visit

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(To F. E. D.) Come again to the place Where your presence was as a leaf that skims Down a drouthy way whose ascent bedims The bloom on the farer’s face. Come again, with the feet That were light on the green as a thistledown ball, And those mute ministrations to one and to all […]

(Student’s Love-song) Once more the cauldron of the sun Smears the bookcase with winy red, And here my page is, and there my bed, And the apple-tree shadows travel along. Soon their intangible track will be run, And dusk grow strong And they be fled. Yes: now the boiling ball is gone, And I have […]

The Difference

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Sinking down by the gate I discern the thin moon, And a blackbird tries over old airs in the pine, But the moon is a sorry one, sad the bird’s tune, For this spot is unknown to that Heartmate of mine. II Did my Heartmate but haunt here at times such as now, The […]

(A Reminiscence) She wore a new “terra-cotta” dress, And we stayed, because of the pelting storm, Within the hansom’s dry recess, Though the horse had stopped; yea, motionless We sat on, snug and warm. Then the downpour ceased, to my sharp sad pain, And the glass that had screened our forms before Flew up, and […]

When I set out for Lyonnesse, A hundred miles away, The rime was on the spray, And starlight lit my lonesomeness When I set out for Lyonnesse A hundred miles away. What would bechance at Lyonnesse While I should sojourn there No prophet durst declare, Nor did the wisest wizard guess What would bechance at […]

If ever joy leave An abiding sting of sorrow, So befell it on the morrow Of that May eve . . . The travelled sun dropped To the north-west, low and lower, The pony’s trot grew slower, And then we stopped. “This cosy house just by I must call at for a minute, A sick […]

(Near Tooting Common) I While rain, with eve in partnership, Descended darkly, drip, drip, drip, Beyond the last lone lamp I passed Walking slowly, whispering sadly, Two linked loiterers, wan, downcast: Some heavy thought constrained each face, And blinded them to time and place. II The pair seemed lovers, yet absorbed In mental scenes no […]

The Torn Letter

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I I tore your letter into strips No bigger than the airy feathers That ducks preen out in changing weathers Upon the shifting ripple-tips. II In darkness on my bed alone I seemed to see you in a vision, And hear you say: “Why this derision Of one drawn to you, though unknown?” III Yes, […]

Channel Firing

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

That night your great guns, unawares, Shook all our coffins as we lay, And broke the chancel window-squares, We thought it was the Judgment-day And sat upright. While drearisome Arose the howl of wakened hounds: The mouse let fall the altar-crumb, The worms drew back into the mounds, The glebe cow drooled. Till God called, […]

Plunging and labouring on in a tide of visions, Dolorous and dear, Forward I pushed my way as amid waste waters Stretching around, Through whose eddies there glimmered the customed landscape Yonder and near, Blotted to feeble mist. And the coomb and the upland Foliage-crowned, Ancient chalk-pit, milestone, rills in the grass-flat Stroked by the […]

(Lines on the loss of the “Titanic”) I In a solitude of the sea Deep from human vanity, And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she. II Steel chambers, late the pyres Of her salamandrine fires, Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres. III Over the mirrors meant To glass […]

The Garden Seat

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Its former green is blue and thin,And its once firm legs sink in and in;Soon it will break down unaware,Soon it will break down unaware. At night when reddest flowers are blackThose who once sat thereon come back;Quite a row of them sitting there,Quite a row of them sitting there. With them the seat does […]

Francois Hippolite Barthelemon, first-fiddler at Vauxhall Gardens, composed what was probably the most popular morning hymn-tune ever written. It was formerly sung, full-voiced, every Sunday in most churches, to Bishop Ken’s words, but is now seldom heard. He said: “Awake my soul, and with the sun,” . . .And paused upon the bridge, his eyes […]

Summer Schemes

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

When friendly summer calls again,Calls againHer little fifers to these hills,We’ll go–we two–to that arched faneOf leafage where they prime their billsBefore they start to flood the plainWith quavers, minims, shakes, and trills.“–We’ll go,” I sing; but who shall sayWhat may not chance before that day! And we shall see the waters spring,Waters springFrom chinks […]

(A TRIBUTE TO SIR H. BISHOP) I hear that maiden stillOf Keinton MandevilleSinging, in flights that playedAs wind-wafts through us all,Till they made our mood a thrallTo their aery rise and fall,“Should he upbraid.” Rose-necked, in sky-gray gown,From a stage in Stower TownDid she sing, and singing smileAs she blent that dexterous voiceWith the ditty […]

Weathers

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

This is the weather the cuckoo likes,And so do I;When showers betumble the chestnut spikes,And nestlings fly:And the little brown nightingale bills his best,And they sit outside at “The Travellers’ Rest,”And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest,And citizens dream of the south and west,And so do I. II This is the weather the shepherd shuns,And so […]

At nine in the morning there passed a church,At ten there passed me by the sea,At twelve a town of smoke and smirch,At two a forest of oak and birch,And then, on a platform, she: A radiant stranger, who saw not me.I queried, “Get out to her do I dare?”But I kept my seat in […]

Epeisodia

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Past the hills that peepWhere the leaze is smiling,On and on beguilingCrisply-cropping sheep;Under boughs of brushwoodLinking tree and treeIn a shade of lushwood,There caressed we! II Hemmed by city wallsThat outshut the sunlight,In a foggy dun light,Where the footstep fallsWith a pit-pat wearisomeIn its cadencyOn the flagstones drearisomeThere pressed we! III Where in wild-winged […]

I thought you a fireOn Heron-Plantation Hill,Dealing out mischief the most direTo the chattels of men of hireThere in their vill. But by and byYou turned a yellow-green,Like a large glow-worm in the sky;And then I could descryYour mood and mien. How well I knowYour furtive feminine shape!As if reluctantly you showYou nude of cloud, […]

(FOR F. E. H.) I sometimes think as here I sitOf things I have done,Which seemed in doing not unfitTo face the sun:Yet never a soul has paused a whitOn such–not one. There was that eager strenuous pressTo sow good seed;There was that saving from distressIn the nick of need;There were those words in the […]

Jezreel

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

ON ITS SEIZURE BY THE ENGLISH UNDER ALLENBY, SEPTEMBER 1918 Did they catch as it were in a Vision at shut of the day–When their cavalry smote through the ancient Esdraelon Plain,And they crossed where the Tishbite stood forth in his enemy’s way–His gaunt mournful Shade as he bade the King haste off amain? On […]

A Jog-Trot Pair

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Who were the twain that trod this trackSo many times togetherHither and back,In spells of certain and uncertain weather? Commonplace in conduct theyWho wandered to and fro hereDay by day:Two that few dwellers troubled themselves to know here. The very gravel-path was primThat daily they would follow:Borders trim:Never a wayward sprout, or hump, or hollow. […]

(SONG) I The curtains now are drawn,And the spindrift strikes the glass,Blown up the jagged passBy the surly salt sou’-west,And the sneering glare is goneBehind the yonder crest,While she sings to me:“O the dream that thou art my Love, be it thine,And the dream that I am thy Love, be it mine,And death may come, […]

Read by Moonlight

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I paused to read a letter of hersBy the moon’s cold shine,Eyeing it in the tenderest way,And edging it up to catch each rayUpon her light-penned line.I did not know what years would flowOf her life’s span and mineEre I read another letter of hersBy the moon’s cold shine! I chance now on the last […]

Going and Staying

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I The moving sun-shapes on the spray,The sparkles where the brook was flowing,Pink faces, plightings, moonlit May,These were the things we wished would stay;But they were going. II Seasons of blankness as of snow,The silent bleed of a world decaying,The moan of multitudes in woe,These were the things we wished would go;But they were staying. […]

Welcome Home

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

To my native placeBent upon returning,Bosom all day burningTo be where my raceWell were known, ’twas much with meThere to dwell in amity. Folk had sought their beds,But I hailed: to view meUnder the moon, out to meSeveral pushed their heads,And to each I told my name,Plans, and that therefrom I came. “Did you? . […]

A very West-of-Wessex girl,As blithe as blithe could be,Was once well-known to me,And she would laud her native town,And hope and hope that weMight sometime study up and downIts charms in company. But never I squired my Wessex girlIn jaunts to Hoe or streetWhen hearts were high in beat,Nor saw her in the marbled waysWhere […]

"I was not he"

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(SONG) I was not he–the manWho used to pilgrim to your gate,At whose smart step you grew elate,And rosed, as maidens can,For a brief span. It was not I who sangBeside the keys you touched so trueWith note-bent eyes, as if with youIt counted not whence sprangThe voice that rang . . . Yet though […]

I When moiling seems at ceaseIn the vague void of night-time,And heaven’s wide roomage stormlessBetween the dusk and light-time,And fear at last is formless,We call the allurement Peace. II Peace, this hid riot, Change,This revel of quick-cued mumming,This never truly being,This evermore becoming,This spinner’s wheel onfleeingOutside perception’s range. 1917.

The Dissemblers

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“It was not you I came to please,Only myself,” flipped she;“I like this spot of phantasies,And thought you far from me.”But O, he was the secret spellThat led her to the lea! “It was not she who shaped my ways,Or works, or thoughts,” he said.“I scarcely marked her living days,Or missed her much when dead.”But […]

A Wet August

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Nine drops of water bead the jessamine,And nine-and-ninety smear the stones and tiles:– ‘Twas not so in that August–full-rayed, fine–When we lived out-of-doors, sang songs, strode miles. Or was there then no noted radiancyOf summer? Were dun clouds, a dribbling bough,Gilt over by the light I bore in me,And was the waste world just the […]

Her Song

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I sang that song on Sunday,To witch an idle while,I sang that song on Monday,As fittest to beguile;I sang it as the year outwore,And the new slid in;I thought not what might shape beforeAnother would begin. I sang that song in summer,All unforeknowingly,To him as a new-comerFrom regions strange to me:I sang it when in […]

A Woman’s Fancy

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Ah Madam; you’ve indeed come back here?‘Twas sad–your husband’s so swift death,And you away! You shouldn’t have left him:It hastened his last breath.” “Dame, I am not the lady you think me;I know not her, nor know her name;I’ve come to lodge here–a friendless woman;My health my only aim.” She came; she lodged. Wherever she […]

SOMETIME THE DWELLING OF JOHN KEATS O poet, come you haunting hereWhere streets have stolen up all around,And never a nightingale pours oneFull-throated sound? Drawn from your drowse by the Seven famed Hills,Thought you to find all just the sameHere shining, as in hours of old,If you but came? What will you do in your […]

The Contretemps

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A forward rush by the lamp in the gloom,And we clasped, and almost kissed;But she was not the woman whomI had promised to meet in the thawing brumeOn that harbour-bridge; nor was I he of her tryst. So loosening from me swift she said:“O why, why feign to beThe one I had meant!–to whom I […]

(SONG) As ’twere to-night, in the brief spaceOf a far eventime,My spirit rang achimeAt vision of a girl of grace;As ’twere to-night, in the brief spaceOf a far eventime. As ’twere at noontide of to-morrowI airily walked and talked,And wondered as I walkedWhat it could mean, this soar from sorrow;As ’twere at noontide of to-morrowI […]

The Strange House

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(MAX GATE, A.D. 2000) “I hear the piano playing–Just as a ghost might play.”“–O, but what are you saying?There’s no piano to-day;Their old one was sold and broken;Years past it went amiss.”“–I heard it, or shouldn’t have spoken:A strange house, this! “I catch some undertone here,From some one out of sight.”“–Impossible; we are alone here,And […]

On that gray night of mournful drone,A part from aught to hear, to see,I dreamt not that from shires unknownIn gloom, alone,By Halworthy,A man was drawing near to me. I’d no concern at anything,No sense of coming pull-heart play;Yet, under the silent outspreadingOf even’s wingWhere Otterham lay,A man was riding up my way. I thought […]

Joyful lady, sing!And I will lurk here listening,Though nought be done, and nought begun,And work-hours swift are scurrying. Sing, O lady, still!Aye, I will wait each note you trill,Though duties due that press to doThis whole day long I unfulfil. “–It is an evening tune;One not designed to waste the noon,”You say. I know: time […]

I dwelt in the shade of a city,She far by the sea,With folk perhaps good, gracious, witty;But never with me. Her form on the ballroom’s smooth flooringI never once met,To guide her with accents adoringThrough Weippert’s “First Set.” {1} I spent my life’s seasons with pale onesIn Vanity Fair,And she enjoyed hers among hale onesIn […]

The Old Gown

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(SONG) I have seen her in gowns the brightest,Of azure, green, and red,And in the simplest, whitest,Muslined from heel to head;I have watched her walking, riding,Shade-flecked by a leafy tree,Or in fixed thought abidingBy the foam-fingered sea. In woodlands I have known her,When boughs were mourning loud,In the rain-reek she has shown herWild-haired and watery-browed.And […]

SONG OF SILENCE(E. L. H.–H. C. H.) Since every sound moves memories,How can I play youJust as I might if you raised no scene,By your ivory rows, of a form betweenMy vision and your time-worn sheen,As when each day youAnswered our fingers with ecstasy?So it’s hushed, hushed, hushed, you are for me! And as I […]

I marked when the weather changed,And the panes began to quake,And the winds rose up and ranged,That night, lying half-awake. Dead leaves blew into my room,And alighted upon my bed,And a tree declared to the gloomIts sorrow that they were shed. One leaf of them touched my hand,And I thought that it was youThere stood […]

(ON THE SIGNING OF THE ARMISTICE, Nov. 11, 1918) I There had been years of Passion–scorching, cold,And much Despair, and Anger heaving high,Care whitely watching, Sorrows manifold,Among the young, among the weak and old,And the pensive Spirit of Pity whispered, “Why?” II Men had not paused to answer. Foes distraughtPierced the thinned peoples in a […]

Where three roads joined it was green and fair,And over a gate was the sun-glazed sea,And life laughed sweet when I halted there;Yet there I never again would be. I am sure those branchways are brooding now,With a wistful blankness upon their face,While the few mute passengers notice howSpectre-beridden is the place; Which nightly sighs […]

Haunting Fingers

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A PHANTASY IN A MUSEUM OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS “Are you awake,Comrades, this silent night?Well ’twere if all of our glossy gluey makeLay in the damp without, and fell to fragments quite!” “O viol, my friend,I watch, though Phosphor nears,And I fain would drowse away to its utter endThis dumb dark stowage after our loud melodious […]

The Woman I Met

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A stranger, I threaded sunken-heartedA lamp-lit crowd;And anon there passed me a soul departed,Who mutely bowed.In my far-off youthful years I had met her,Full-pulsed; but now, no more life’s debtor,Onward she slidIn a shroud that furs half-hid. “Why do you trouble me, dead woman,Trouble me;You whom I knew when warm and human?–How it beThat you […]

(Song) If it’s ever spring again,Spring again,I shall go where went I whenDown the moor-cock splashed, and hen,Seeing me not, amid their flounder,Standing with my arm around her;If it’s ever spring again,Spring again,I shall go where went I then. If it’s ever summer-time,Summer-time,With the hay crop at the prime,And the cuckoos–two–in rhyme,As they used to […]

The Two Houses

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

In the heart of night,When farers were not near,The left house said to the house on the right,“I have marked your rise, O smart newcomer here.” Said the right, cold-eyed:“Newcomer here I am,Hence haler than you with your cracked old hide,Loose casements, wormy beams, and doors that jam. “Modern my wood,My hangings fair of hue;While […]

I glimpsed a woman’s muslined formSing-songing airilyAgainst the moon; and still she sang,And took no heed of me. Another trice, and I beheldWhat first I had not scanned,That now and then she tapped and shookA timbrel in her hand. So late the hour, so white her drape,So strange the look it lentTo that blank hill, […]

One without looks in to-nightThrough the curtain-chinkFrom the sheet of glistening white;One without looks in to-nightAs we sit and thinkBy the fender-brink. We do not discern those eyesWatching in the snow;Lit by lamps of rosy dyesWe do not discern those eyesWondering, aglow,Fourfooted, tiptoe.

The Selfsame Song

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A bird bills the selfsame song,With never a fault in its flow,That we listened to here those longLong years ago. A pleasing marvel is howA strain of such rapturous roteShould have gone on thus till nowUnchanged in a note! – But it’s not the selfsame bird. –No: perished to dust is he . . .As […]

A Wife Comes Back

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

This is the story a man told meOf his life’s one day of dreamery. A woman came into his roomBetween the dawn and the creeping day:She was the years-wed wife from whomHe had parted, and who lived far away,As if strangers they. He wondered, and as she stoodShe put on youth in her look and […]

Call off your eyes from careBy some determined deftness; put forth joysDear as excess without the core that cloys,And charm Life’s lourings fair. Exalt and crown the hourThat girdles us, and fill it full with glee,Blind glee, excelling aught could ever beWere heedfulness in power. Send up such touching strainsThat limitless recruits from Fancy’s packShall […]

Had I but lived a hundred years agoI might have gone, as I have gone this year,By Warmwell Cross on to a Cove I know,And Time have placed his finger on me there: “YOU SEE THAT MAN?”–I might have looked, and said,“O yes: I see him. One that boat has broughtWhich dropped down Channel round […]

Tabitha dressed for her wedding:-“Tabby, why look so sad?”“–O I feel a great gloominess spreading, spreading,Instead of supremely glad! . . . “I called on Carry last night,And he came whilst I was there,Not knowing I’d called. So I kept out of sight,And I heard what he said to her: “‘–Ah, I’d far liefer marryYOU, […]

Two Serenades

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I–On Christmas Eve Late on Christmas Eve, in the street alone,Outside a house, on the pavement-stone,I sang to her, as we’d sung togetherOn former eves ere I felt her tether. –Above the door of green by meWas she, her casement seen by me;But she would not heedWhat I melodiedIn my soul’s sore need –She would […]

A Bygone Occasion

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(SONG) That night, that night,That song, that song!Will such again be evened quiteThrough lifetimes long? No mirth was shownTo outer seers,But mood to match has not been knownIn modern years. O eyes that smiled,O lips that lured;That such would last was one beguiledTo think ensured! That night, that night,That song, that song;O drink to its […]

“There is not much that I can do,For I’ve no money that’s quite my own!”Spoke up the pitying child –A little boy with a violinAt the station before the train came in, –“But I can play my fiddle to you,And a nice one ’tis, and good in tone!” The man in the handcuffs smiled;The constable […]

(SONG) I worked no wile to meet you,My sight was set elsewhere,I sheered about to shun you,And lent your life no care.I was unprimed to greet youAt such a date and place,Constraint alone had won youVision of my strange face! You did not seek to see meThen or at all, you said,–Meant passing when you […]

“Awake! I’m off to cities far away,”I said; and rose, on peradventures bent.The chimes played “Life’s a Bumper!” on that dayTo the measure of my walking as I went:Their sweetness frisked and floated on the lea,As they played out “Life’s a Bumper!” there to me. “Awake!” I said. “I go to take a bride!”–The sun […]

You were here at his young beginning,You are not here at his aged end;Off he coaxed you from Life’s mad spinning,Lest you should see his form extendShivering, sighing,Slowly dying,And a tear on him expend. So it comes that we stand lonelyIn the star-lit avenue,Dropping broken lipwords only,For we hear no songs from you,Such as flew […]

You say, O Sage, when weather-checked,“I have been favoured soWith cloudless skies, I must expectThis dash of rain or snow.” “Since health has been my lot,” you say,“So many months of late,I must not chafe that one short dayOf sickness mars my state.” You say, “Such bliss has been my shareFrom Love’s unbroken smile,It is […]

(SONG) I do not wish to win your vowTo take me soon or late as bride,And lift me from the nook where nowI tarry your farings to my side.I am blissful ever to abideIn this green labyrinth–let all be,If but, whatever may betide,You do not leave off loving me! Your comet-comings I will waitWith patience […]

Side by Side

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

So there sat they,The estranged two,Thrust in one pewBy chance that day;Placed so, breath-nigh,Each comer unwittingWho was to be sittingIn touch close by. Thus side by sideBlindly alighted,They seemed unitedAs groom and bride,Who’d not communedFor many years –Lives from twain spheresWith hearts distuned. Her fringes brushedHis garment’s hemAs the harmonies rushedThrough each of them:Her lips […]

Mismet

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I He was leaning by a face,He was looking into eyes,And he knew a trysting-place,And he heard seductive sighs;But the face,And the eyes,And the place,And the sighs,Were not, alas, the right ones–the ones meet for him –Though fine and sweet the features, and the feelings all abrim. II She was looking at a form,She was […]

There trudges one to a merry-makingWith a sturdy swing,On whom the rain comes down. To fetch the saving medicamentIs another bent,On whom the rain comes down. One slowly drives his herd to the stallEre ill befall,On whom the rain comes down. This bears his missives of life and deathWith quickening breath,On whom the rain comes […]

(A new theme to an old Folk-Jingle) ‘Tis May morning,All-adorning,No cloud warningOf rain to-day.Where shall I go to,Go to, go to? –Can I say No toLyonnesse-way? Well–what reasonNow at this seasonIs there for treasonTo other shrines?Tristram is not there,Isolt forgot there,New eras blot thereSought-for signs! Stratford-on-Avon –Poesy-paven –I’ll find a havenThere, somehow! –Nay–I’m but caught […]

The Beauty

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

O do not praise my beauty more,In such word-wild degree,And say I am one all eyes adore;For these things harass me! But do for ever softly say:“From now unto the endCome weal, come wanzing, come what may,Dear, I will be your friend.” I hate my beauty in the glass:My beauty is not I:I wear it: […]

Fili hominis, ecce ego tollo a te desiderabile oculorum tuorom inplaga.–EZECH. xxiv. 16. How I remember cleaning that strange picture!I had been deep in duty for my sick neighbour –His besides my own–over several Sundays,Often, too, in the week; so with parish pressures,Baptisms, burials, doctorings, conjugal counsel –All the whatnots asked of a rural parson […]

The Wood Fire

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(A FRAGMENT) “This is a brightsome blaze you’ve lit good friend, to-night!”“–Aye, it has been the bleakest spring I have felt for years,And nought compares with cloven logs to keep alight:I buy them bargain-cheap of the executioners,As I dwell near; and they wanted the crosses out of sightBy Passover, not to affront the eyes of […]

Saying Good-Bye

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(SONG) We are always saying“Good-bye, good-bye!”In work, in playing,In gloom, in gaying:At many a stageOf pilgrimageFrom youth to ageWe say, “Good-bye,Good-bye!” We are undiscerningWhich go to sigh,Which will be yearningFor soon returning;And which no moreWill dark our door,Or tread our shore,But go to die,To die. Some come from roamingWith joy again;Some, who come homingBy stealth […]

We never sang togetherRavenscroft’s terse old tuneOn Sundays or on weekdays,In sharp or summer weather,At night-time or at noon. Why did we never sing it,Why never so inclineOn Sundays or on weekdays,Even when soft wafts would wing itFrom your far floor to mine? Shall we that tune, then, neverStand voicing side by sideOn Sundays or […]

The Opportunity

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(FOR H. P.) Forty springs back, I recall,We met at this phase of the Maytime:We might have clung close through all,But we parted when died that daytime. We parted with smallest regret;Perhaps should have cared but slightly,Just then, if we never had met:Strange, strange that we lived so lightly! Had we mused a little spaceAt […]

I can see the towersIn mind quite clearNot many hours’Faring from here;But how up and go,And briskly bearThither, and knowThat are not there? Though the birds sing small,And apple and pearOn your trees by the wallAre ripe and rare,Though none excel them,I have no careTo taste them or smell themAnd you not there. Though the […]

The Rift

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(SONG: Minor Mode) ‘Twas just at gnat and cobweb-time,When yellow begins to show in the leaf,That your old gamut changed its chimeFrom those true tones–of span so brief! –That met my beats of joy, of grief,As rhyme meets rhyme. So sank I from my high sublime!We faced but chancewise after that,And never I knew or […]

These flowers are I, poor Fanny Hurd,Sir or Madam,A little girl here sepultured.Once I flit-fluttered like a birdAbove the grass, as now I waveIn daisy shapes above my grave,All day cheerily,All night eerily! – I am one Bachelor Bowring, “Gent,”Sir or Madam;In shingled oak my bones were pent;Hence more than a hundred years I spentIn […]

She did not turn,But passed foot-faint with averted headIn her gown of green, by the bobbing fern,Though I leaned over the gate that ledFrom where we waited with table spread;But she did not turn:Why was she near there if love had fled? She did not turn,Though the gate was whence I had often spedIn the […]

Growth in May

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I enter a daisy-and-buttercup land,And thence thread a jungle of grass:Hurdles and stiles scarce visible standAbove the lush stems as I pass. Hedges peer over, and try to be seen,And seem to reveal a dim senseThat amid such ambitious and elbow-high greenThey make a mean show as a fence. Elsewhere the mead is possessed of […]

Sir Nameless, once of Athelhall, declared:“These wretched children romping in my parkTrample the herbage till the soil is bared,And yap and yell from early morn till dark!Go keep them harnessed to their set routines:Thank God I’ve none to hasten my decay;For green remembrance there are better meansThan offspring, who but wish their sires away.” Sir […]

These summer landscapes–clump, and copse, and croft –Woodland and meadowland–here hung aloft,Gay with limp grass and leafery new and soft, Seem caught from the immediate season’s yieldI saw last noonday shining over the field,By rapid snatch, while still are uncongealed The saps that in their live originals climb;Yester’s quick greenage here set forth in mimeJust […]

Her Temple

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Dear, think not that they will forget you:–If craftsmanly art should be mineI will build up a temple, and set youTherein as its shrine. They may say: “Why a woman such honour?”–Be told, “O, so sweet was her fame,That a man heaped this splendour upon her;None now knows his name.”

Yes; such it was;Just those two seasons unsought,Sweeping like summertide wind on our ways;Moving, as straws,Hearts quick as ours in those days;Going like wind, too, and rated as noughtSave as the prelude to playsSoon to come–larger, life-fraught:Yes; such it was. “Nought” it was called,Even by ourselves–that which springsOut of the years for all flesh, first […]

(From this centuries-old cross-road the highway leads east to London, north to Bristol and Bath, west to Exeter and the Land’s End, and south to the Channel coast.) Why go the east road now? . . .That way a youth went on a morrowAfter mirth, and he brought back sorrowPainted upon his browWhy go the […]

Penance

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Why do you sit, O pale thin man, At the end of the room By that harpsichord, built on the quaint old plan? –It is cold as a tomb, And there’s not a spark within the grate; And the jingling wires Are as vain desires That have lagged too late.” “Why do I? Alas, far […]

(SONG: Minor) I look in her face and say,“Sing as you used to singAbout Love’s blossoming”;But she hints not Yea or Nay. “Sing, then, that Love’s a pain,If, Dear, you think it so,Whether it be or no;”But dumb her lips remain. I go to a far-off room,A faint song ghosts my ear;WHICH song I cannot […]

After the War

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Last Post soundedAcross the meadTo where he loiteredWith absent heed.Five years beforeIn the evening thereHad flown that callTo him and his Dear.“You’ll never come back;Good-bye!” she had said;“Here I’ll be living,And my Love dead!” Those closing minimsHad been as shafts dartingThrough him and her pressedIn that last parting;They thrilled him not now,In the selfsame placeWith […]

If you had knownWhen listening with her to the far-down moanOf the white-selvaged and empurpled sea,And rain came on that did not hinder talk,Or damp your flashing facile gaietyIn turning home, despite the slow wet walkBy crooked ways, and over stiles of stone;If you had known You would lay roses,Fifty years thence, on her monument, […]

Fetching Her

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

An hour before the dawn, My friend, You lit your waiting bedside-lamp, Your breakfast-fire anon, And outing into the dark and damp You saddled, and set on. Thuswise, before the day,My friend,You sought her on her surfy shore,To fetch her thence awayUnto your own new-builded doorFor a staunch lifelong stay. You said: “It seems to […]

(A.D. 185-) I’ve been thinking it through, as I play here to-night, to play never again,By the light of that lowering sun peering in at the window-pane,And over the back-street roofs, throwing shades from the boys of the choreIn the gallery, right upon me, sitting up to these keys once more . . . How […]

(SONG: Verses 1, 3, key major; verse 2, key minor) Could I but will,Will to my bent,I’d have afar ones near me still,And music of rare ravishment,In strains that move the toes and heels!And when the sweethearts sat for restThe unbetrothed should foot with zestEcstatic reels. Could I be head,Head-god, “Come, now,Dear girl,” I’d say, […]

I have come to the church and chancel,Where all’s the same!– Brighter and larger in my dreamsTruly it shaped than now, meseems,Is its substantial frame.But, anyhow, I made my vow,Whether for praise or blame,Here in this church and chancelWhere all’s the same. Where touched the check-floored chancelMy knees and his?The step looks shyly at the […]

I (OLD STYLE) Our songs went up and out the chimney,And roused the home-gone husbandmen;Our allemands, our heys, poussettings,Our hands-across and back again,Sent rhythmic throbbings through the casementsOn to the white highway,Where nighted farers paused and muttered,“Keep it up well, do they!” The contrabasso’s measured boomingSped at each bar to the parish bounds,To shepherds at […]

I travelled to where in her lifetimeShe’d knelt at morning prayer,To call her up as if there;But she paid no heed to my suing,As though her old haunt could win notA thought from her spirit, or care. I went where my friend had lectionedThe prophets in high declaim,That my soul’s ear the sameFull tones should […]

The railway bore him throughAn earthen cutting out from a city:There was no scope for view,Though the frail light shed by a slim young moonFell like a friendly tune. Fell like a liquid ditty,And the blank lack of any charmOf landscape did no harm.The bald steep cutting, rigid, rough,And moon-lit, was enoughFor poetry of place: […]

"I knew a lady"

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(CLUB SONG) I knew a lady when the daysGrew long, and evenings goldened;But I was not emboldenedBy her prompt eyes and winning ways. And when old Winter nipt the haws,“Another’s wife I’ll be,And then you’ll care for me,”She said, “and think how sweet I was!” And soon she shone as another’s wife:As such I often […]

The Singing Woman

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

There was a singing womanCame riding across the meadAt the time of the mild May weather,Tameless, tireless;This song she sung: “I am fair, I am young!”And many turned to heed. And the same singing womanSat crooning in her needAt the time of the winter weather;Friendless, fireless,She sang this song: “Life, thou’rt too long!”And there was […]

In a heavy time I dogged myselfAlong a louring way,Till my leading self to my following selfSaid: “Why do you hang on meSo harassingly?” “I have watched you, Heart of mine,” I cried,“So often going astrayAnd leaving me, that I have pursued,Feeling such truancyOught not to be.” He said no more, and I dogged him […]

I see the ghost of a perished day;I know his face, and the feel of his dawn:‘Twas he who took me far awayTo a spot strange and gray:Look at me, Day, and then pass on,But come again: yes, come anon! Enters another into view;His features are not cold or white,But rosy as a vein seen […]

There is a house in a city streetSome past ones made their own;Its floors were criss-crossed by their feet,And their babblings beatFrom ceiling to white hearth-stone. And who are peopling its parlours now?Who talk across its floor?Mere freshlings are they, blank of brow,Who read not howIts prime had passed before Their raw equipments, scenes, and […]

It was what you bore with you, Woman,Not inly were,That throned you from all else human,However fair! It was that strange freshness you carriedInto a soulWhereon no thought of yours tarriedTwo moments at all. And out from his spirit flew death,And bale, and ban,Like the corn-chaff under the breathOf the winnowing-fan.

(To an old air) “O I won’t lead a homely lifeAs father’s Jack and mother’s Jill,But I will be a fiddler’s wife,With music mine at will!Just a little tune,Another one soon,As I merrily fling my fill!” And she became a fiddler’s Dear,And merry all day she strove to be;And he played and played afar and […]

I lay in my bed and fiddledWith a dreamland viol and bow,And the tunes flew back to my fingersI had melodied years ago.It was two or three in the morningWhen I fancy-fiddled soLong reels and country-dances,And hornpipes swift and slow. And soon anon came crossingThe chamber in the grayFigures of jigging fieldfolk –Saviours of corn […]

Creak, little wood thing, creak,When I touch you with elbow or knee;That is the way you speakOf one who gave you to me! You, little table, she brought –Brought me with her own hand,As she looked at me with a thoughtThat I did not understand. – Whoever owns it anon,And hears it, will never knowWhat […]

Vagg Hollow

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Vagg Hollow is a marshy spot on the old Roman Road near Ilchester, where “things” are seen. Merchandise was formerly fetched inland from the canal-boats at Load-Bridge by waggons this way. “What do you see in Vagg Hollow,Little boy, when you goIn the morning at five on your lonely drive?”“–I see men’s souls, who followTill […]

I am laughing by the brook with her,Splashed in its tumbling stir;And then it is a blankness loomsAs if I walked not there,Nor she, but found me in haggard rooms,And treading a lonely stair. With radiant cheeks and rapid eyesWe sit where none espies;Till a harsh change comes edging inAs no such scene were there,But […]

(A Fiddler’s story) Little fogs were gathered in every hollow,But the purple hillocks enjoyed fine weatherAs we marched with our fiddles over the heather– How it comes back!–to their wedding that day. Our getting there brought our neighbours and all, O!Till, two and two, the couples stood ready.And her father said: “Souls, for God’s sake, […]

First or Last

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(SONG) If grief come earlyJoy comes late,If joy come earlyGrief will wait;Aye, my dear and tender! Wise ones joy them earlyWhile the cheeks are red,Banish grief till surlyTime has dulled their dread. And joy being oursEre youth has flown,The later hoursMay find us gone;Aye, my dear and tender!

Lonely Days

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Lonely her fate was,Environed from sightIn the house where the gate wasPast finding at night.None there to share it,No one to tell:Long she’d to bear it,And bore it well. Elsewhere just so sheSpent many a day;Wishing to go sheContinued to stay.And people withoutBasked warm in the air,But none sought her out,Or knew she was there.Even […]

What did it mean that noontide, whenYou bade me pluck the flowerWithin the other woman’s bower,Whom I knew nought of then? I thought the flower blushed deeplier–aye,And as I drew its stalk to meIt seemed to breathe: “I am, I see,Made use of in a human play.” And while I plucked, upstarted sheerAs phantom from […]

I sat at dinner in my prime,And glimpsed my face in the sideboard-glass,And started as if I had seen a crime,And prayed the ghastly show might pass. Wrenched wrinkled features met my sight,Grinning back to me as my own;I well-nigh fainted with affrightAt finding me a haggard crone. My husband laughed. He had slily setA […]

The Marble Tablet

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

There it stands, though alas, what a little of herShows in its cold white look!Not her glance, glide, or smile; not a tittle of herVoice like the purl of a brook;Not her thoughts, that you read like a book. It may stand for her once in NovemberWhen first she breathed, witless of all;Or in heavy […]

I We are budding, Master, budding,We of your favourite tree;March drought and April floodingArouse us merrily,Our stemlets newly studding;And yet you do not see! II We are fully woven for summerIn stuff of limpest green,The twitterer and the hummerHere rest of nights, unseen,While like a long-roll drummerThe nightjar thrills the treen. III We are turning […]

Pet was never mourned as you,Purrer of the spotless hue,Plumy tail, and wistful gazeWhile you humoured our queer ways,Or outshrilled your morning callUp the stairs and through the hall –Foot suspended in its fall –While, expectant, you would standArched, to meet the stroking hand;Till your way you chose to wendYonder, to your tragic end. Never […]

When a night in NovemberBlew forth its bleared airsAn infant descendedHis birth-chamber stairsFor the very first time,At the still, midnight chime;All unapprehendedHis mission, his aim. –Thus, first, one November,An infant descendedThe stairs. On a night in NovemberOf weariful cares,A frail aged figureAscended those stairsFor the very last time:All gone his life’s prime,All vanished his vigour,And […]

And he is risen? Well, be it so . . .And still the pensive lands complain,And dead men wait as long ago,As if, much doubting, they would knowWhat they are ransomed from, beforeThey pass again their sheltering door. I stand amid them in the rain,While blusters vex the yew and vane;And on the road the […]

The Second Night

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(BALLAD) I missed one night, but the next I went;It was gusty above, and clear;She was there, with the look of one ill-content,And said: “Do not come near!” – “I am sorry last night to have failed you here,And now I have travelled all day;And it’s long rowing back to the West-Hoe Pier,So brief must […]

She Who Saw Not

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Did you see something within the houseThat made me call you before the red sunsetting?Something that all this common scene endowsWith a richened impress there can be no forgetting?” “–I have found nothing to see therein,O Sage, that should have made you urge me to enter,Nothing to fire the soul, or the sense to win:I […]

The Old Workman

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Why are you so bent down before your time,Old mason? Many have not left their primeSo far behind at your age, and can stillStand full upright at will.” He pointed to the mansion-front hard by,And to the stones of the quoin against the sky;“Those upper blocks,” he said, “that there you see,It was that ruined […]

“O whence do you come,Figure in the night-fog that chills me numb?” “I come to you across from my house up there,And I don’t mind the brine-mist clinging to meThat blows from the quay,For I heard him in my chamber, and thought you unaware.” “But what did you hear,That brought you blindly knocking in this […]

(A REMINISCENCE OF THE WAR) We sat in the roomAnd praised her whomWe saw in the portico-shade outside:She could not hearWhat was said of her,But smiled, for its purport we did not hide. Then in was broughtThat message, fraughtWith evil fortune for her out there,Whom we loved that dayMore than any could say,And would fain […]

The Passer-by

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(L. H. RECALLS HER ROMANCE) He used to pass, well-trimmed and brushed,My window every day,And when I smiled on him he blushed,That youth, quite as a girl might; aye,In the shyest way. Thus often did he pass hereby,That youth of bounding gait,Until the one who blushed was I,And he became, as here I sate,My joy, […]

I was the midmost of my worldWhen first I frisked me free,For though within its circuit gleamedBut a small company,And I was immature, they seemedTo bend their looks on me. She was the midmost of my worldWhen I went further forth,And hence it was that, whether I turnedTo south, east, west, or north,Beams of an […]

(WOODSFORD CASTLE: 17-) “What do I catch upon the night-wind, husband? –What is it sounds in this house so eerily?It seems to be a woman’s voice: each little while I hear it,And it much troubles me!” “‘Tis but the eaves dripping down upon the plinth-slopes:Letting fancies worry thee!–sure ’tis a foolish thing,When we were on’y […]

When your soft welcomings were said,This curl was waving on your head,And when we walked where breakers dinnedIt sported in the sun and wind,And when I had won your words of graceIt brushed and clung about my face.Then, to abate the miseryOf absentness, you gave it me. Where are its fellows now? Ah, theyFor brightest […]

An Old Likeness

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(RECALLING R. T.) Who would have thoughtThat, not having missed herTalks, tears, laughterIn absence, or soughtTo recall for so longHer gamut of song;Or ever to waft herSignal of aughtThat she, fancy-fanned,Would well understand,I should have kissed herPicture when scannedYawning years after! Yet, seeing her poorDim-outlined formChancewise at night-time,Some old allureCame on me, warm,Fresh, pleadful, pure,As […]

Her Apotheosis

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

“Secretum meum mihi”(FADED WOMAN’S SONG) There was a spell of leisure,No record vouches when;With honours, praises, pleasureTo womankind from men. But no such lures bewitched me,No hand was stretched to raise,No gracious gifts enriched me,No voices sang my praise. Yet an iris at that seasonAmid the accustomed slightFrom denseness, dull unreason,Ringed me with living light.

“SACRED TO THE MEMORY”(MARY H.) That “Sacred to the Memory”Is clearly carven there I own,And all may think that on the stoneThe words have been inscribed by meIn bare conventionality. They know not and will never knowThat my full script is not confinedTo that stone space, but stands deep linedUpon the landscape high and lowWherein […]

Glad old house of lichened stonework,What I owed you in my lone work,Noon and night!Whensoever faint or ailing,Letting go my grasp and failing,You lent light. How by that fair title came you?Did some forward eye so name youKnowing that one,Sauntering down his century blindly,Would remark your sound, so kindly,And be won? Smile in sunlight, sleep […]

The Whipper-in

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

My father was the whipper-in, –Is still–if I’m not misled?And now I see, where the hedge is thin,A little spot of red;Surely it is my fatherGoing to the kennel-shed! “I cursed and fought my father–aye,And sailed to a foreign land;And feeling sorry, I’m back, to stay,Please God, as his helping hand.Surely it is my fatherNear […]

(SCHERZANDO) “So back you have come from the town, Nan, dear!And have you seen him there, or near –That soldier of mine –Who long since promised to meet me here?” “–O yes, Nell: from the town I come,And have seen your lover on sick-leave home –That soldier of yours –Who swore to meet you, or […]

(On Yell’Ham Hill) In my loamy nookAs I dig my holeI observe men lookAt a stone, and sighAs they pass it byTo some far goal. Something it saysTo their glancing eyesThat must distressThe frail and lame,And the strong of frameGladden or surprise. Do signs on its faceDeclare how farFeet have to traceBefore they gainSome blest […]

Words from the mirror softly passTo the curtains with a sigh:“Why should I trouble again to glassThese smileless things hard by,Since she I pleasured once, alas,Is now no longer nigh!” “I’ve imaged shadows of coursing cloud,And of the plying limbOn the pensive pine when the air is loudWith its aerial hymn;But never do they make […]

Cross-Currents

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

They parted–a pallid, trembling I pair,And rushing down the laneHe left her lonely near me there;–I asked her of their pain. “It is for ever,” at length she said,“His friends have schemed it so,That the long-purposed day to wedNever shall we two know.” “In such a cruel case,” said I,“Love will contrive a course?”“–Well, no […]

‘Twas to greet the new rector I called I here,But in the arm-chair I seeMy old friend, for long years installed here,Who palely nods to me. The new man explains what he’s planningIn a smart and cheerful tone,And I listen, the while that I’m scanningThe figure behind his own. The newcomer urges things on me;I […]