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A Man (In Memory of H. of M.)

Written by: Thomas Hardy | Biography
 | Quotes (33) |
 I 

In Casterbridge there stood a noble pile, 
Wrought with pilaster, bay, and balustrade 
In tactful times when shrewd Eliza swayed. - 
 On burgher, squire, and clown 
It smiled the long street down for near a mile 

II 

But evil days beset that domicile; 
The stately beauties of its roof and wall 
Passed into sordid hands. Condemned to fall 
 Were cornice, quoin, and cove, 
And all that art had wove in antique style. 

III 

Among the hired dismantlers entered there 
One till the moment of his task untold. 
When charged therewith he gazed, and answered bold: 
 "Be needy I or no, 
I will not help lay low a house so fair! 

IV 

"Hunger is hard. But since the terms be such - 
No wage, or labour stained with the disgrace 
Of wrecking what our age cannot replace 
 To save its tasteless soul - 
I'll do without your dole. Life is not much! 

V 

Dismissed with sneers he backed his tools and went, 
And wandered workless; for it seemed unwise 
To close with one who dared to criticize 
 And carp on points of taste: 
To work where they were placed rude men were meant. 

VI 

Years whiled. He aged, sank, sickened, and was not: 
And it was said, "A man intractable 
And curst is gone." None sighed to hear his knell, 
 None sought his churchyard-place; 
His name, his rugged face, were soon forgot. 

VII 

The stones of that fair hall lie far and wide, 
And but a few recall its ancient mould; 
Yet when I pass the spot I long to hold 
 As truth what fancy saith: 
"His protest lives where deathless things abide!"



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