Thomas Hardy





   By the Century's Deathbed


5                     I.

I LEANT upon a paddock gate
  When shades were spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
  The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
10     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,
15   His crypt the cloudy canopy,
  The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
  Was shrunken hard, and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
20     Seemed fervourless as I.


At once a voice outburst among
  The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
  Of joy illimited.
25   An aged thrush, frail, thin, and small,
  In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
  Upon the growing gloom.


So little cause for carollings
30     Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
  Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
  His happy good-night air
  Some Blessed Hope, whereof he knew
  And I was unaware.





Erstdruck und Druckvorlage

The Graphic.
An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper.
1900, 29. Dezember, S. 956.

The British Newspaper Archive

Die Textwiedergabe erfolgt nach dem ersten Druck (Editionsrichtlinien).

The Graphic   online





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Kritische und kommentierte Ausgaben





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Lyriktheorie » R. Brandmeyer