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A Poem by Thomas Hardy: A Meeting With Despair

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A Meeting With Despair

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 glanced aloft and halted, pleasure-caught
To see the contrast there:
The ray-lit clouds gleamed glory; and I thought,
“There’s solace everywhere!”

Then bitter self-reproaches as I stood
I dealt me silently
As one perverse–misrepresenting Good
In graceless mutiny.

Against the horizon’s dim-descernèd wheel
A form rose, strange of mould:
That he was hideous, hopeless, I could feel
Rather than could behold.

“‘Tis a dead spot, where even the light lies spent
To darkness!” croaked the Thing.
“Not if you look aloft!” said I, intent
On my new reasoning.

“Yea–but await awhile!” he cried. “Ho-ho!–
Look now aloft and see!”
I looked. There, too, sat night: Heaven’s radiant show
Had gone. Then chuckled he.

 

Thomas Hardy

statue of Thomas Hardy in dorchester town dorset

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