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

38. Middle-Age Enthusiasms

WE passed where flag and flower

Signalled a jocund throng;

We said: “Go to, the hour

Is apt!”—and joined the song;

And, kindling, laughed at life and care,

Although we knew no laugh lay there.

We walked where shy birds stood

Watching us, wonder-dumb;

Their friendship met our mood;

We cried: “We’ll often come:

We’ll come morn, noon, eve, everywhen!”

—We doubted we should come again.

We joyed to see strange sheens

Leap from quaint leaves in shade;

A secret light of greens

They’d for their pleasure made.

We said: “We’ll set such sorts as these!”

—We knew with night the wish would cease.

“So sweet the place,” we said,

“Its tacit tales so dear,

Our thoughts, when breath has sped,

Will meet and mingle here!”…

“Words!” mused we. “Passed the mortal door,

Our thoughts will reach this nook no more.”