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 Musical Box"

        Lifelong to be
Seemed the fair colour of the time;
That there was standing shadowed near
A spirit who sang to the gentle chime
Of the self-struck notes, I did not hear,
        I did not see.

        Thus did it sing
To the mindless lyre that played indoors
As she came to listen for me without:
"O value what the nonce outpours -
This best of life—that shines about
        Your welcoming!"

        I had slowed along
After the torrid hours were done,
Though still the posts and walls and road
Flung back their sense of the hot-faced sun,
And had walked by Stourside Mill, where broad
        Stream-lilies throng.

        And I descried
The dusky house that stood apart,
And her, white-muslined, waiting there
In the porch with high-expectant heart,
While still the thin mechanic air
        Went on inside.

        At whiles would flit
Swart bats, whose wings, be-webbed and tanned,
Whirred like the wheels of ancient clocks:
She laughed a hailing as she scanned
Me in the gloom, the tuneful box
        Intoning it.

        Lifelong to be
I thought it. That there watched hard by
A spirit who sang to the indoor tune,
"O make the most of what is nigh!"
I did not hear in my dull soul-swoon -
        I did not see.

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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