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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 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.

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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.

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 |

Between Us Now

 Between us now and here - 
 Two thrown together 
Who are not wont to wear 
 Life's flushest feather - 
Who see the scenes slide past, 
The daytimes dimming fast, 
Let there be truth at last, 
 Even if despair.
So thoroughly and long Have you now known me, So real in faith and strong Have I now shown me, That nothing needs disguise Further in any wise, Or asks or justifies A guarded tongue.
Face unto face, then, say, Eyes mine own meeting, Is your heart far away, Or with mine beating? When false things are brought low, And swift things have grown slow, Feigning like froth shall go, Faith be for aye.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

The Tree: An Old Mans Story


Its roots are bristling in the air 
Like some mad Earth-god's spiny hair; 
The loud south-wester's swell and yell 
Smote it at midnight, and it fell.
Thus ends the tree Where Some One sat with me.
II Its boughs, which none but darers trod, A child may step on from the sod, And twigs that earliest met the dawn Are lit the last upon the lawn.
Cart off the tree Beneath whose trunk sat we! III Yes, there we sat: she cooed content, And bats ringed round, and daylight went; The gnarl, our seat, is wrenched and sunk, Prone that queer pocket in the trunk Where lay the key To her pale mystery.
IV "Years back, within this pocket-hole I found, my Love, a hurried scrawl Meant not for me," at length said I; "I glanced thereat, and let it lie: The words were three - 'Beloved, I agree.
' V "Who placed it here; to what request It gave assent, I never guessed.
Some prayer of some hot heart, no doubt, To some coy maiden hereabout, Just as, maybe, With you, Sweet Heart, and me.
" VI She waited, till with quickened breath She spoke, as one who banisheth Reserves that lovecraft heeds so well, To ease some mighty wish to tell: "'Twas I," said she, "Who wrote thus clinchingly.
VII "My lover's wife--aye, wife!--knew nought Of what we felt, and bore, and thought .
He'd said: 'I wed with thee or die: She stands between, 'tis true.
But why? Do thou agree, And--she shalt cease to be.
' VIII "How I held back, how love supreme Involved me madly in his scheme Why should I say? .
I wrote assent (You found it hid) to his intent .
She--DIED .
But he Came not to wed with me.
IX "O shrink not, Love!--Had these eyes seen But once thine own, such had not been! But we were strangers .
Thus the plot Cleared passion's path.
--Why came he not To wed with me? .
He wived the gibbet-tree.
" X - Under that oak of heretofore Sat Sweetheart mine with me no more: By many a Fiord, and Strom, and Fleuve Have I since wandered .
Soon, for love, Distraught went she - 'Twas said for love of me.

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 Robert William Service |

Hero Worship

 Said he: "You saw the Master clear;
By Rushy Pond alone he sat,
Serene and silent as a seer,
in tweedy coat and seedy hat.
you tell me you did not intrude, (Although his book was in your hand,) Upon his melancholy mood .
I do not understand.
"You did not tell him: 'I have come From o'er the sea to speak to you.
' You did not dare, your lips were dumb .
You thought a little zephyr blew From Rushy Pond a touch of him You'll cherish to your dying day, Perhaps with tears your eyes were dim .
And then - you went away.
"And down the years you will proclaim: 'O call me dullard, dub me dunce! But let this be my meed of fame: I looked on Thomas Hardy once.
Aye, by a stile I stood a span And with these eyes did plainly see A little, shrinking, shabby man .
But Oh a god to me!'" Said I: "'Tis true, I scarce dared look, yet he would have been kind, I'm sure; But though I clutched his precious book I feared to beg his signature.
Ah yes, my friend, I merit mirth.
You're bold, you have the right to laugh, And if Christ came again to earth You'd cadge his autograph.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

At a Lunar Eclipse

 Thy shadow, Earth, from Pole to Central Sea, 
Now steals along upon the Moon's meek shine 
In even monochrome and curving line 
Of imperturbable serenity.
How shall I link such sun-cast symmetry With the torn troubled form I know as thine, That profile, placid as a brow divine, With continents of moil and misery? And can immense Mortality but throw So small a shade, and Heaven's high human scheme Be hemmed within the coasts yon arc implies? Is such the stellar gauge of earthly show, Nation at war with nation, brains that teem, Heroes, and women fairer than the skies?

Written by Thomas Hardy |

The Roman Road

 The Roman Road runs straight and bare 
As the pale parting-line in hair 
Across the heath.
And thoughtful men Contrast its days of Now and Then, And delve, and measure, and compare; Visioning on the vacant air Helmeted legionnaires, who proudly rear The Eagle, as they pace again The Roman Road.
But no tall brass-helmeted legionnaire Haunts it for me.
Uprises there A mother's form upon my ken, Guiding my infant steps, as when We walked that ancient thoroughfare, The Roman Road.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

San Sebastian

 And your sunny years with a gracious wife
Have brought you a daughter dear.
"I watched her to-day; a more comely maid, As she danced in her muslin bowed with blue, Round a Hintock maypole never gayed.
" --"Aye, aye; I watched her this day, too, As it happens," the Sergeant said.
"My daughter is now," he again began, "Of just such an age as one I knew When we of the Line, in the Foot-Guard van, On an August morning--a chosen few-- Stormed San Sebastian.
"She's a score less three; so about was she-- The maiden I wronged in Peninsular days.
You may prate of your prowess in lusty times, But as years gnaw inward you blink your bays, And see too well your crimes! "We'd stormed it at night, by the vlanker-light Of burning towers, and the mortar's boom: We'd topped the breach but had failed to stay, For our files were misled by the baffling gloom; And we said we'd storm by day.
"So, out of the trenches, with features set, On that hot, still morning, in measured pace, Our column climbed; climbed higher yet, Past the fauss'bray, scarp, up the curtain-face, And along the parapet.
"From the batteried hornwork the cannoneers Hove crashing balls of iron fire; On the shaking gap mount the volunteers In files, and as they mount expire Amid curses, groans, and cheers.
"Five hours did we storm, five hours re-form, As Death cooled those hot blood pricked on; Till our cause was helped by a woe within; They swayed from the summit we'd leapt upon, And madly we entered in.
"On end for plunder, 'mid rain and thunder That burst with the lull of our cannonade, We vamped the streets in the stifling air-- Our hunger unsoothed, our thirst unstayed-- And ransacked the buildings there.
"Down the stony steps of the house-fronts white We rolled rich puncheons of Spanish grape, Till at length, with the fire of the wine alight, I saw at a doorway a fair fresh shape-- A woman, a sylph, or sprite.
"Afeard she fled, and with heated head I pursued to the chamber she called her own; --When might is right no qualms deter, And having her helpless and alone I wreaked my lust on her.
"She raised her beseeching eyes to me, And I heard the words of prayer she sent In her own soft language.
Seemingly I copied those eyes for my punishment In begetting the girl you see! "So, to-day I stand with a God-set brand Like Cain's, when he wandered from kindred's ken.
I served through the war that made Europe free; I wived me in peace-year.
But, hid from men, I bear that mark on me.
"And I nightly stray on the Ivel Way As though at home there were spectres rife; I delight me not in my proud career; And 'tis coals of fire that a gracious wife Should have brought me a daughter dear!"

Written by Thomas Hardy |


 SNOW-BOUND in woodland, a mournful word,
Dropt now and then from the bill of a bird,
Reached me on wind-wafts; and thus I heard,
Wearily waiting:--

"I planned her a nest in a leafless tree,
But the passers eyed and twitted me,
And said: 'How reckless a bird is he,
Cheerily mating!'

"Fear-filled, I stayed me till summer-tide,
In lewth of leaves to throne her bride;
But alas! her love for me waned and died,
Wearily waiting.
"Ah, had I been like some I see, Born to an evergreen nesting-tree, None had eyed and twitted me, Cheerily mating!"

Written by Thomas Hardy |

In The Old Theatre Fiesole.

 I traced the Circus whose gray stones incline 
Where Rome and dim Etruria interjoin, 
Till came a child who showed an ancient coin 
That bore the image of a Constantine.
She lightly passed; nor did she once opine How, better than all books, she had raised for me In swift perspective Europe's history Through the vast years of Caesar's sceptred line.
For in my distant plot of English loam 'Twas but to delve, and straightway there to find Coins of like impress.
As with one half blind Whom common simples cure, her act flashed home In that mute moment to my opened mind The power, the pride, the reach of perished Rome.

Written by Thomas Hardy |

Genoa and the Mediterranean.

 O epic-famed, god-haunted Central Sea, 
Heave careless of the deep wrong done to thee 
When from Torino's track I saw thy face first flash on me.
And multimarbled Genova the Proud, Gleam all unconscious how, wide-lipped, up-browed, I first beheld thee clad--not as the Beauty but the Dowd.
Out from a deep-delved way my vision lit On housebacks pink, green, ochreous--where a slit Shoreward 'twixt row and row revealed the classic blue through it.
And thereacross waved fishwives' high-hung smocks, Chrome kerchiefs, scarlet hose, darned underfrocks; Since when too oft my dreams of thee, O Queen, that frippery mocks: Whereat I grieve, Superba! .
Afterhours Within Palazzo Doria's orange bowers Went far to mend these marrings of thy soul-subliming powers.
But, Queen, such squalid undress none should see, Those dream-endangering eyewounds no more be Where lovers first behold thy form in pilgrimage to thee.