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By Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate

      When Frost was spectre-grey,

And Winter’s dregs made desolate

      The weakening eye of day.

The tangled bine-stems scored the sky

      Like strings of 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,

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

      Seemed fervourless as I.


At once a voice arose among

      The bleak twigs overhead

In a full-hearted evensong

      Of joy illimited;

An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,

      In blast-beruffled plume,

Had chosen thus to fling his soul

      Upon the growing gloom.


So little cause for carolings

      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.


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  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset County, England, where he studied architecture, but he later quit to pursue a literary career. In order to gain financial stability, Hardy first published novels, including such classics as Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. Once he was well known and well off financially, he returned to poetry, his first love. Hardy’s dark, bleak verse was at odds with his Victorian contemporaries who tended to present more optimistic perspectives on life.

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