Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thomas Hardy: June 2, 1840

Thomas Hardy was born on this date 170 years ago.

In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations'

Only a man harrowing clods
   In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
   Half asleep as they stalk.

Only thin smoke without flame
   From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
   Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight
   Come whispering by:
War's annals will cloud into night
   Ere their story die.

                  John Constable, "Gillingham Bridge, Dorset" (1823)

The banded ones were all dressed in white gowns -- a gay survival from Old Style days, when cheerfulness and May-time were synonyms -- days before the habit of taking long views had reduced emotion to a monotonous average.
   -- Tess of the d'Urbervilles

               John Constable, "Weymouth Bay from the Downs above
                              Osmington Mills, Dorset" (c. 1816)

     Waiting Both

A star looks down at me,
And says:  'Here I and you
Stand, each in our degree:
What do you mean to do, --
          Mean to do?'

I say:  'For all I know,
Wait, and let Time go by,
Till my change come.' -- 'Just so,'
The star says:  'So mean I: --
          So mean I.'          

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