Sunday Poetry – Thomas Hardy

I love Thomas Hardy’s poetry. He wrote some of his most passionate yet melancholy love poetry after the death of his first wife, Emma. The regret for the wasted years full of misunderstandings is very moving. If you haven’t already read it, I can recommend Claire Tomalin’s wonderful biography of Hardy, The Time-Torn Man, which begins with the outpouring of poetry & memory that was prompted by Emma’s death. I don’t know if this poem, The End of the Episode, is about Emma. It’s from a collection published in 1909 & it’s full of Hardy’s favourite notes of missed opportunities & longing for the past.

Indulge no more may we
In this sweet-bitter pastime:
The love-light shines the last time
Between you, Dear, and me.


There shall remain no trace
Of what so closely tied us,
And blank as ere love eyed us
Will be our meeting-place.


The flowers and thymy air,
Will they now miss our coming?
The dumbles thin their humming
To find we haunt not there?


Though fervent was our vow,
Though ruddily ran our pleasure,
Bliss has fulfilled its measure,
And sees its sentence now.


Ache deep; but make no moans:
Smile out; but stilly suffer:
The paths of love are rougher
Than thoroughfares of stones.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Poetry – Thomas Hardy

  1. I love Hardy's poetry too Lyn but I didn't know this one. I rather suspect it is not about Emma but some other young lady of which there were many I think. Never mind — he was a terrific poet (though I know some people can't stand his poetry)/

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