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Thomas Hardy : The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
	When  Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winterís 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 landís sharp features seemed to be
	The Centuryís 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-beruffed 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.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)	1900


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