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His Immortality

 I 

 I saw a dead man's finer part 
Shining within each faithful heart 
Of those bereft.
Then said I: "This must be His immortality.
" II I looked there as the seasons wore, And still his soul continuously upbore Its life in theirs.
But less its shine excelled Than when I first beheld.
III His fellow-yearsmen passed, and then In later hearts I looked for him again; And found him--shrunk, alas! into a thin And spectral mannikin.
IV Lastly I ask--now old and chill - If aught of him remain unperished still; And find, in me alone, a feeble spark, Dying amid the dark.

by Thomas Hardy
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