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Poem by Thomas Hardy


Spoken by Miss ADA REHAN at the Lyceum Theatre, 23 July 1890, 
at a performance on behalf of Lady Jeunes Holiday Fund for City Children.

Before we part to alien thoughts and aims, 
Permit the one brief word the occasion claims: 
 When mumming and grave motives are allied, 
Perhaps an Epilogue is justified. 

Our under-purpose has, in truth, to-day 
Commanded most our musings; least the play: 
A purpose futile but for your good-will 
Swiftly responsive to the cry of ill: 
A purpose all too limited!  to aid 
Frail human flowerets, sicklied by the shade, 
In winning some short spell of upland breeze, 
Or strengthening sunlight on the level leas. 

Who has not marked, where the full cheek should be, 
Incipient lines of lank flaccidity, 
Lymphatic pallor where the pink should glow, 
And where the throb of transport, pulses low? 
Most tragical of shapes from Pole to Line, 
O wondering child, unwitting Times design, 
Why should Man add to Natures quandary, 
And worsen ill by thus immuring thee? 
 That races do despite unto their own, 
That Might supernal do indeed condone 
Wrongs individual for the general ease, 
Instance the proof in victims such as these. 

Launched into thoroughfares too thronged before, 
Mothered by those whose protest is No more! 
Vitalized without option: who shall say 
That did Life hang on choosing  Yea or Nay 
They had not scorned it with such penalty, 
And nothingness implored of Destiny? 

And yet behind the horizon smile serene 
The down, the cornland, and the stretching green 
Space  the childs heaven: scenes which at least ensure 
Some palliative for ill they cannot cure. 

Dear friends  now moved by this poor show of ours 
To make your own long joy in buds and bowers 
For one brief while the joy of infant eyes, 
Changing their urban murk to paradise 
You have our thanks!  may your reward include 
More than our thanks, far more: their gratitude.

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy's other poems:
  1. Life and Death at Sunrise
  2. The Aërolite
  3. I Found Her Out There
  4. The Chimes Play Lifes a Bumper!
  5. Rake-Hell Muses

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • John Keats Lines ("UNFELT unheard, unseen")
  • William Wordsworth Lines ("STRANGER! this hillock of misshapen stones")
  • Samuel Coleridge Lines ("RICHER than miser oer his countless hoards")
  • Thomas Hood Lines ("Let Us Make a Leap, My Dear")
  • Samuel Johnson Lines ("Wheresoe'er I turn my view") 1777
  • Francis Thompson Lines ("O tree of many branches! One thou hast")
  • Robert Burns Lines ("I MURDER hate by field or flood") 1790
  • Letitia Landon Lines ("She kneels by the grave where her lover sleeps")
  • Oliver Holmes Lines ("COME back to your mother, ye children, for shame")
  • Joseph Drake Lines ("Day gradual fades, in evening gray")
  • Ebenezer Elliott Lines ("FROM Shirecliffe, oer a silent sea of trees")
  • George Morris Lines ("O Love! the mischief thou hast done!")
  • John Lockhart Lines ("When youthful faith hath fled")
  • Thomas Talfourd Lines ("HOW simple in their grandeur are the forms ")
  • John Reade Lines ("I KNELT down as I poured my spirit forth by that gray gate")

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