Darkling Thrush – poem, Thomas Hardy 1900

For those who are interested, this is the poem by Thomas Hardy:

I leant upon a coppice gate
When frost was spectre-grey
and Winter’s dregs made desolate
the weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
like strings of broken lyres,
and all mankind that haunted nigh
had sought their household fires

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
the century’s corpse outleant;
his crypt the cloudy canopy;
the wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
was shrunken hard and dry,
and every spirit upon Earth
seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
the bleak twigs overhead
in a full-hearted evensong
of joy unlimited.
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small
in blast-beruffled plume
had chosen thus to fling his soul
upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
of such ecstatic sound
was written on terrestrial things
afar and nigh around,
that I could think there trembled through
his happy, goodnight air
some blessed hope, whereof he knew
and I was unaware.

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