Home  »  Wessex Poems & Other Verses  »  1. The Temporary the All

Thomas Hardy (1840–1928). Wessex Poems and Other Verses. 1898.

1. The Temporary the All

CHANGE and chancefulness in my flowering youthtime,

Set me sun by sun near to one unchosen;

Wrought us fellowly, and despite divergence,

Friends interblent us.

“Cherish him can I while the true one forthcome—

Come the rich fulfiller of my prevision;

Life is roomy yet, and the odds unbounded.”

So self-communed I.

Thwart my wistful way did a damsel saunter,

Fair not fairest, good not best of her feather;

“Maiden meet,” held I, “till arise my forefelt

Wonder of women.”

Long a visioned hermitage deep desiring,

Tenements uncouth I was fain to house in;

“Let such lodging be for a breath-while,” thought I,

“Soon a more seemly.

“Then, high handiwork will I make my life-deed,

Truth and Light outshow; but the ripe time pending,

Intermissive aim at the thing sufficeth.”

Thus I … But lo, me!

Mistress, friend, place, aims to be bettered straightway,

Bettered not has Fate or my hand’s achieving;

Sole the showance those of my onward earth-track—

Never transcended!