by: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

      PON 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 and stood me by--
      The same, even to the marvellous ray
      That used to light her eye.
      “You draw me, and I come to you,
      My faithful one,” she said,
      In voice that had the moving tone
      It bore in maidenhead.
      She said: “‘Tis seven years since I died:
      Few now remember me;
      My husband clasps another bride;
      My children mothers she.
      My brethren, sisters, and my friends
      Care not to meet my sprite:
      Who prized me most I did not know
      Till I passed down from sight.”
      I said: “My days are lonely here;
      I need thy smile alway:
      I’ll use this night my ball or blade,
      And join thee ere the day.”
      A tremor stirred her tender lips,
      Which parted to dissuade:
      “That cannot be, O friend,” she cried;
      “Think, I am but a Shade!
      “A Shade but in its mindful ones
      Has immortality;
      By living, me you keep alive,
      By dying you slay me.
      “In you resides my single power
      Of sweet continuance here;
      On your fidelity I count
      Through many a coming year.”
      --I started through me at her plight,
      So suddenly confessed:
      Dismissing late distaste for life,
      I craved its bleak unrest.
      “I will not die, my One of all!--
      To lengthen out thy days
      I’ll guard me from minutest harms
      That may invest my ways!”
      She smiled and went. Since then she comes
      Oft when her birth-moon climbs,
      Or at the seasons’ ingresses
      Or anniversary times;
      But grows my grief. When I surcease,
      Through whom alone lives she,
      Ceases my Love, her words, her ways,
      Never again to be!

"Her Immortality" is reprinted from Wessex Poems and Other Verses. Thomas Hardy. New York: Harper, 1898.




[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z ]

Home · Poetry Store · Links · Email · © 2002 Poetry-Archive.com