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Her Dilemma

 THE two were silent in a sunless church,
Whose mildewed walls, uneven paving-stones,
And wasted carvings passed antique research;
And nothing broke the clock's dull monotones.
Leaning against a wormy poppy-head, So wan and worn that he could scarcely stand, --For he was soon to die,--he softly said, "Tell me you love me!"--holding hard her hand.
She would have given a world to breathe "yes" truly, So much his life seemed hanging on her mind, And hence she lied, her heart persuaded throughly, 'Twas worth her soul to be a moment kind.
But the sad need thereof, his nearing death, So mocked humanity that she shamed to prize A world conditioned thus, or care for breath Where Nature such dilemmas could devise.

Poem by Thomas Hardy
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