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A Confession To A Friend In Trouble

 Your troubles shrink not, though I feel them less
 Here, far away, than when I tarried near;
I even smile old smiles--with listlessness--
 Yet smiles they are, not ghastly mockeries mere.
A thought too strange to house within my brain Haunting its outer precincts I discern: --That I will not show zeal again to learn Your griefs, and, sharing them, renew my pain.
It goes, like murky bird or buccaneer That shapes its lawless figure on the main, And each new impulse tends to make outflee The unseemly instinct that had lodgment here; Yet, comrade old, can bitterer knowledge be Than that, though banned, such instinct was in me!

by Thomas Hardy
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