Home  »  Wessex Poems & Other Verses  »  33. A Meeting with Despair

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

33. A Meeting with Despair

AS evening shaped I found me on a moor

Which sight could scarce sustain:

The black lean land, of featureless contour,

Was like a tract in pain.

“This scene, like my own life,” I said, “is one

Where many glooms abide;

Toned by its fortune to a deadly dun—

Lightless on every side.

I glanced aloft and halted, pleasure-caught

To see the contrast there:

The ray-lit clouds gleamed glory; and I thought,

“There’s solace everywhere!”

Then bitter self-reproaches as I stood

I dealt me silently

As one perverse—misrepresenting Good

In graceless mutiny.

Against the horizon’s dim-descernèd wheel

A form rose, strange of mould:

That he was hideous, hopeless, I could feel

Rather than could behold.

“’Tis a dead spot, where even the light lies spent

To darkness!” croaked the Thing.

“Not if you look aloft!” said I, intent

On my new reasoning.

“Yea—but await awhile!” he cried. “Ho-ho!—

Look now aloft and see!”

I looked. There, too, sat night: Heaven’s radiant show

Had gone. Then chuckled he.