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A Wasted Illness

 Through vaults of pain, 
Enribbed and wrought with groins of ghastliness, 
I passed, and garish spectres moved my brain 
 To dire distress.
And hammerings, And quakes, and shoots, and stifling hotness, blent With webby waxing things and waning things As on I went.
"Where lies the end To this foul way?" I asked with weakening breath.
Thereon ahead I saw a door extend - The door to death.
It loomed more clear: "At last!" I cried.
"The all-delivering door!" And then, I knew not how, it grew less near Than theretofore.
And back slid I Along the galleries by which I came, And tediously the day returned, and sky, And life--the same.
And all was well: Old circumstance resumed its former show, And on my head the dews of comfort fell As ere my woe.
I roam anew, Scarce conscious of my late distress .
.
.
And yet Those backward steps through pain I cannot view Without regret.
For that dire train Of waxing shapes and waning, passed before, And those grim aisles, must be traversed again To reach that door.

by Thomas Hardy
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