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Best Famous Thomas Hardy Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Thomas Hardy poems. This is a select list of the best famous Thomas Hardy poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Thomas Hardy poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Thomas Hardy poems.

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Written by Thomas Hardy |

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
     When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's 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 land's sharp features seemed to be The Century's 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 fevourless 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-beruffled 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.

Written by Thomas Hardy |


If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh:  "Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.
But not so.
How arrives it joy lies slain, And why unblooms the best hope ever sown? —Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain, And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan.
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

The Voice

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then, Standing as when I drew near to the town Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then, Even to the original air-blue gown! Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness Travelling across the wet mead to me here, You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness, Heard no more again far or near? Thus I; faltering forward, Leaves around me falling, Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward, And the woman calling.

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Written by Thomas Hardy |

A Broken Appointment

 You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb.
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there Than that I thus found lacking in your make That high compassion which can overbear Reluctance for pure loving kindness' sake Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum, You did not come.
You love me not, And love alone can lend you loyalty; --I know and knew it.
But, unto the store Of human deeds divine in all but name, Was it not worth a little hour or more To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be You love me not.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

The Ruined Maid

"O 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town? 
And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?"--
"O didn't you know I'd been ruined?" said she.
--"You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks, Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks; And now you've gay bracelets and bright feathers three!"-- "Yes: that's how we dress when we're ruined," said she.
--"At home in the barton you said 'thee' and 'thou,' And 'thik oon,' and 'theäs oon,' and 't'other'; but now Your talking quite fits 'ee for high compa-ny!"-- "Some polish is gained with one's ruin," said she.
--"Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak But now I'm bewitched by your delicate cheek, And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!"-- "We never do work when we're ruined," said she.
--"You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream, And you'd sigh, and you'd sock; but at present you seem To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!"-- "True.
One's pretty lively when ruined," said she.
"--I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown, And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!"-- "My dear--a raw country girl, such as you be, Cannot quite expect that.
You ain't ruined," said she.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

A Christmas Ghost Story.

 South of the Line, inland from far Durban,
A mouldering soldier lies--your countryman.
Awry and doubled up are his gray bones, And on the breeze his puzzled phantom moans Nightly to clear Canopus: "I would know By whom and when the All-Earth-gladdening Law Of Peace, brought in by that Man Crucified, Was ruled to be inept, and set aside? And what of logic or of truth appears In tacking 'Anno Domini' to the years? Near twenty-hundred livened thus have hied, But tarries yet the Cause for which He died.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

The Dead Man Walking

 They hail me as one living,
But don't they know
That I have died of late years,
Untombed although?

I am but a shape that stands here,
A pulseless mould,
A pale past picture, screening
Ashes gone cold.
Not at a minute's warning, Not in a loud hour, For me ceased Time's enchantments In hall and bower.
There was no tragic transit, No catch of breath, When silent seasons inched me On to this death .
-- A Troubadour-youth I rambled With Life for lyre, The beats of being raging In me like fire.
But when I practised eyeing The goal of men, It iced me, and I perished A little then.
When passed my friend, my kinsfolk, Through the Last Door, And left me standing bleakly, I died yet more; And when my Love's heart kindled In hate of me, Wherefore I knew not, died I One more degree.
And if when I died fully I cannot say, And changed into the corpse-thing I am to-day, Yet is it that, though whiling The time somehow In walking, talking, smiling, I live not now.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

Birds at Winter Nightfall (Triolet)

 Around the house the flakes fly faster, 
And all the berries now are gone 
From holly and cotoneaster 
Around the house.
The flakes fly!--faster Shutting indoors that crumb-outcaster We used to see upon the lawn Around the house.
The flakes fly faster, And all the berries now are gone!

Written by Thomas Hardy |

A Sign-Seeker

 I MARK the months in liveries dank and dry,
The day-tides many-shaped and hued;
I see the nightfall shades subtrude,
And hear the monotonous hours clang negligently by.
I view the evening bonfires of the sun On hills where morning rains have hissed; The eyeless countenance of the mist Pallidly rising when the summer droughts are done.
I have seen the lightning-blade, the leaping star, The caldrons of the sea in storm, Have felt the earthquake's lifting arm, And trodden where abysmal fires and snowcones are.
I learn to prophesy the hid eclipse, The coming of eccentric orbs; To mete the dust the sky absorbs, To weigh the sun, and fix the hour each planet dips.
I witness fellow earth-men surge and strive; Assemblies meet, and throb, and part; Death's soothing finger, sorrow's smart; --All the vast various moils that mean a world alive.
But that I fain would wot of shuns my sense-- Those sights of which old prophets tell, Those signs the general word so well, Vouchsafed to their unheed, denied my watchings tense.
In graveyard green, behind his monument To glimpse a phantom parent, friend, Wearing his smile, and "Not the end!" Outbreathing softly: that were blest enlightenment; Or, if a dead Love's lips, whom dreams reveal When midnight imps of King Decay Delve sly to solve me back to clay, Should leave some print to prove her spirit-kisses real; Or, when Earth's Frail lie bleeding of her Strong, If some Recorder, as in Writ, Near to the weary scene should flit And drop one plume as pledge that Heaven inscrolls the wrong.
--There are who, rapt to heights of tranc?d trust, These tokens claim to feel and see, Read radiant hints of times to be-- Of heart to heart returning after dust to dust.
Such scope is granted not my powers indign.
I have lain in dead men's beds, have walked The tombs of those with whom I'd talked, Called many a gone and goodly one to shape a sign, And panted for response.
But none replies; No warnings loom, nor whisperings To open out my limitings, And Nescience mutely muses: When a man falls he lies.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

The Sick God


 In days when men had joy of war, 
A God of Battles sped each mortal jar; 
 The peoples pledged him heart and hand, 
 From Israel's land to isles afar.
II His crimson form, with clang and chime, Flashed on each murk and murderous meeting-time, And kings invoked, for rape and raid, His fearsome aid in rune and rhyme.
III On bruise and blood-hole, scar and seam, On blade and bolt, he flung his fulgid beam: His haloes rayed the very gore, And corpses wore his glory-gleam.
IV Often an early King or Queen, And storied hero onward, knew his sheen; 'Twas glimpsed by Wolfe, by Ney anon, And Nelson on his blue demesne.
V But new light spread.
That god's gold nimb And blazon have waned dimmer and more dim; Even his flushed form begins to fade, Till but a shade is left of him.
VI That modern meditation broke His spell, that penmen's pleadings dealt a stroke, Say some; and some that crimes too dire Did much to mire his crimson cloak.
VII Yea, seeds of crescive sympathy Were sown by those more excellent than he, Long known, though long contemned till then - The gods of men in amity.
VIII Souls have grown seers, and thought out-brings The mournful many-sidedness of things With foes as friends, enfeebling ires And fury-fires by gaingivings! IX He scarce impassions champions now; They do and dare, but tensely--pale of brow; And would they fain uplift the arm Of that faint form they know not how.
X Yet wars arise, though zest grows cold; Wherefore, at whiles, as 'twere in ancient mould He looms, bepatched with paint and lath; But never hath he seemed the old! XI Let men rejoice, let men deplore.
The lurid Deity of heretofore Succumbs to one of saner nod; The Battle-god is god no more.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

She To Him

 WHEN you shall see me lined by tool of Time,
My lauded beauties carried off from me,
My eyes no longer stars as in their prime,
My name forgot of Maiden Fair and Free;

When in your being heart concedes to mind,
And judgment, though you scarce its process know,
Recalls the excellencies I once enshrined,
And you are irked that they have withered so:

Remembering that with me lies not the blame,
That Sportsman Time but rears his brood to kill,
Knowing me in my soul the very same--
One who would die to spare you touch of ill!--
Will you not grant to old affection's claim
The hand of friendship down Life's sunless hill?

Written by Thomas Hardy |

The Oxen

 Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees," An elder said as we sat in a flock By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where They dwelt in their strawy pen, Nor did it occur to one of us there To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave In these years! Yet, I feel, If someone said on Christmas Eve, "Come; see the oxen kneel, "In the lonely barton by yonder coomb Our childhood used to know," I should go with him in the gloom, Hoping it might be so.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

The Caged Thrush Freed and Home Again (Villanelle)

 "Men know but little more than we, 
Who count us least of things terrene, 
How happy days are made to be! 

"Of such strange tidings what think ye, 
O birds in brown that peck and preen? 
Men know but little more than we! 

"When I was borne from yonder tree 
In bonds to them, I hoped to glean 
How happy days are made to be, 

"And want and wailing turned to glee; 
Alas, despite their mighty mien 
Men know but little more than we! 

"They cannot change the Frost's decree, 
They cannot keep the skies serene; 
How happy days are made to be 

"Eludes great Man's sagacity 
No less than ours, O tribes in treen! 
Men know but little more than we 
How happy days are made to be.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

Friends Beyond

 WILLIAM Dewy, Tranter Reuben, Farmer Ledlow late at plough,
Robert's kin, and John's, and Ned's,
And the Squire, and Lady Susan, lie in Mellstock churchyard now!

"Gone," I call them, gone for good, that group of local hearts and
Yet at mothy curfew-tide,
And at midnight when the noon-heat breathes it back from walls and

They've a way of whispering to me--fellow-wight who yet abide--
In the muted, measured note
Of a ripple under archways, or a lone cave's stillicide:

"We have triumphed: this achievement turns the bane to antidote,
Unsuccesses to success,
Many thought-worn eves and morrows to a morrow free of thought.
"No more need we corn and clothing, feel of old terrestrial stress; Chill detraction stirs no sigh; Fear of death has even bygone us: death gave all that we possess.
" W.
--"Ye mid burn the wold bass-viol that I set such vallie by.
" Squire.
--"You may hold the manse in fee, You may wed my spouse, my children's memory of me may decry.
" Lady.
--"You may have my rich brocades, my laces; take each household key; Ransack coffer, desk, bureau; Quiz the few poor treasures hid there, con the letters kept by me.
" Far.
--"Ye mid zell my favorite heifer, ye mid let the charlock grow, Foul the grinterns, give up thrift.
" Wife.
--"If ye break my best blue china, children, I sha'n't care or ho.
" All--"We've no wish to hear the tidings, how the people's fortunes shift; What your daily doings are; Who are wedded, born, divided; if your lives beat slow or swift.
"Curious not the least are we if our intents you make or mar, If you quire to our old tune, If the City stage still passes, if the weirs still roar afar.
" Thus, with very gods' composure, freed those crosses late and soon Which, in life, the Trine allow (Why, none witteth), and ignoring all that haps beneath the moon, William Dewy, Tranter Reuben, Farmer Ledlow late at plough, Robert's kin, and John's, and Ned's, And the Squire, and Lady Susan, murmur mildly to me now.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

Her Immortality

 UPON a noon I pilgrimed through
A pasture, mile by mile,
Unto the place where I last saw
My dead Love's living smile.
And sorrowing I lay me down Upon the heated sod: It seemed as if my body pressed The very ground she trod.
I lay, and thought; and in a trance She came and stood me by-- The same, even to the marvellous ray That used to light her eye.
"You draw me, and I come to you, My faithful one," she said, In voice that had the moving tone It bore in maidenhead.
She said: "'Tis seven years since I died: Few now remember me; My husband clasps another bride; My children mothers she.
My brethren, sisters, and my friends Care not to meet my sprite: Who prized me most I did not know Till I passed down from sight.
" I said: "My days are lonely here; I need thy smile alway: I'll use this night my ball or blade, And join thee ere the day.
" A tremor stirred her tender lips, Which parted to dissuade: "That cannot be, O friend," she cried; "Think, I am but a Shade! "A Shade but in its mindful ones Has immortality; By living, me you keep alive, By dying you slay me.
"In you resides my single power Of sweet continuance here; On your fidelity I count Through many a coming year.
" --I started through me at her plight, So suddenly confessed: Dismissing late distaste for life, I craved its bleak unrest.
"I will not die, my One of all!-- To lengthen out thy days I'll guard me from minutest harms That may invest my ways!" She smiled and went.
Since then she comes Oft when her birth-moon climbs, Or at the seasons' ingresses Or anniversary times; But grows my grief.
When I surcease, Through whom alone lives she, Ceases my Love, her words, her ways, Never again to be!