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Thomas Hardy

  • The Interloper
  • The Convergence of the Twain


    There are three folk driving in a quaint old chaise,
    And the cliff-side track looks green and fair;
    I view them talking in quiet glee
    As they drop down towards the puffins' lair
          By the roughest of ways;
    But another with the three rides on, I see,
          Whom I like not to be there!

    No: it's not anybody you think of. Next
    A dwelling appears by a slow sweet stream
    Where two sit happily and half in the dark:
    They read, helped out by a frail-wick'd gleam,
          Some rhythmic text;
    But one sits with them whom they don't mark,
          One I'm wishing could not be there.

    No: not whom you knew and name. And now
    I discern gay diners in a mansion-place,
    And the guests dropping wit—pert, prim, or choice,
    And the hostess's tender and laughing face,
          And the host's bland brow;
    But I cannot help hearing a hollow voice,
          And I'd fain not hear it there.

    No: it's not from the stranger you once met. Ah,
    Yet a goodlier scene than that succeeds;
    People on a lawn—quite a crowd of them. Yes,
    And they chatter and ramble as fancy leads;
          And they say, 'Hurrah!'
    To a blithe speech made; save one, mirthless,
          Who ought not to be there.

    Nay: it's not the pale Form your imagings raise,
    That waits on us all at a destined time,
    It is not the Fourth Figure the Furnace showed;
    O that it were such a shape sublime
          In these latter days!
    It is that under which best lives corrode;
          Would, would it could not be there!

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    (Lines of the loss of the “Titanic”)


    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 tidal lyres.


    Over the mirrors meant
    To glass the opulent
    The sea-worm crawls — grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.


    Jewels in joy designed
    To ravish the sensuous mind
    Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.


    Dim moon-eyed fishes near
    Gaze at the gilded gear
    And query: “What does this vaingloriousness down here?”


    Well: while was fashioning
    This creature of cleaving wing,
    The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything


    Prepared a sinister mate
    For her — so gaily great —
    A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate.


    And as the smart ship grew
    In stature, grace, and hue
    hi shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.


    Alien they seemed to be:
    No mortal eye could see
    he intimate welding of their later history,


    Or sign that they were bent
    By paths coincident
    On being anon twin halves of one august event,


    Till the Spinner of the Years
    Said “Now!” And each one hears,
    And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.

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