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.
More By This Poet
The Last Performance
“I am playing my oldest tunes,” declared she,
“All the old tunes I know,—
Those I learnt ever so long ago.”
—Why she should think just then she’d play them
Silence cloaks like snow.
When I returned from the town at nightfall
The Convergence of the Twain
In a solitude of the sea
Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.
Steel chambers, late the pyres
Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic...
That night your great guns, unawares,
Shook all our coffins as we lay,
And broke the chancel window-squares,
We thought it was the Judgment-day
And sat upright. While drearisome
Arose the howl of wakened hounds:
The mouse let fall the altar-crumb,
The worms drew back into the...
The Darkling Thrush
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...
The Man He Killed
"Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!
"But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at...
If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!”
Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the...