A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Thomas Hardy

"The To-Be-Forgotten"


        I heard a small sad sound,
And stood awhile amid the tombs around:
"Wherefore, old friends," said I, "are ye distrest,
        Now, screened from life's unrest?"


        —"O not at being here;
But that our future second death is drear;
When, with the living, memory of us numbs,
        And blank oblivion comes!


        "Those who our grandsires be
Lie here embraced by deeper death than we;
Nor shape nor thought of theirs canst thou descry
        With keenest backward eye.


        "They bide as quite forgot;
They are as men who have existed not;
Theirs is a loss past loss of fitful breath;
        It is the second death.


        "We here, as yet, each day
Are blest with dear recall; as yet, alway
In some soul hold a loved continuance
        Of shape and voice and glance.


        "But what has been will be -
First memory, then oblivion's turbid sea;
Like men foregone, shall we merge into those
        Whose story no one knows.


        "For which of us could hope
To show in life that world-awakening scope
Granted the few whose memory none lets die,
        But all men magnify?


        "We were but Fortune's sport;
Things true, things lovely, things of good report
We neither shunned nor sought . . . We see our bourne,
        And seeing it we mourn."

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

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