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

43. The Impercipient

THAT from this bright believing band

An outcast I should be,

That faiths by which my comrades stand

Seem fantasies to me,

And mirage-mists their Shining Land,

Is a drear destiny.

Why thus my soul should be consigned

To infelicity,

Why always I must feel as blind

To sights my brethren see,

Why joys they’ve found I cannot find,

Abides a mystery.

Since heart of mine knows not that ease

Which they know; since it be

That He who breathes All’s Well to these

Breathes no All’s Well to me,

My lack might move their sympathies

And Christian charity!

I am like a gazer who should mark

An inland company

Standing upfingered, with, “Hark! hark!

The glorious distant sea!”

And feel, “Alas, ’tis but yon dark

And wind-swept pine to me!”

Yet I would bear my shortcomings

With meet tranquillity,

But for the charge that blessed things

I’d liefer have unbe.

O, doth a bird deprived of wings

Go earth-bound wilfully!

Enough. As yet disquiet clings

About us. Rest shall we.