Thomas Hardy

Over the Coffin

They stand confronting, the coffin between,
His wife of old, and his wife of late,
And the dead man whose they both had been
Seems listening aloof, as to things past date.
– ‘I have called,’ says the first. ‘Do you marvel or not?’
‘In truth,’ says the second, ‘I do – somewhat.’

‘Well, there was a word to be said by me! . . . 
I divorced that man because of you –
It seemed I must do it, boundenly;
But now I am older, and tell you true,
For life is little, and dead lies he;
I would I had let alone you two!
And both of us, scorning parochial ways,
Had lived like the wives in the patriarchs’ days.’

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