by: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
- HE TWO were
silent in a sunless church,
- Whose mildewed walls, uneven paving-stones,
- And wasted carvings passed antique research;
- And nothing broke the clocks 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 love me!--holding hard her hand.
- She would have given a world to breathe yes truly,
- So much his life seemed hanging on her mind,
- And hence she lied, her heart persuaded throughly,
- Twas worth her soul to be a moment kind.
- But the sad need thereof, his nearing death,
- So mocked humanity that she shamed to prize
- A world conditioned thus, or care for breath
- Where Nature such dilemmas could devise.
POEMS BY THOMAS HARDY
"Her Dilemma" is reprinted
from Wessex Poems and Other Verses. Thomas Hardy. New
York: Harper, 1898.