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

46. In a Eweleaze near Weatherbury

THE YEARS have gathered grayly

Since I danced upon this leaze

With one who kindled gayly

Love’s fitful ecstasies!

But despite the term as teacher,

I remain what I was then

In each essential feature

Of the fantasies of men.

Yet I note the little chisel

Of ever-napping Time,

Defacing ghast and grizzel

The blazon of my prime.

When at night he thinks me sleeping,

I feel him boring sly

Within my bones, and heaping

Quaintest pains for by-and-by.

Still, I’d go the world with Beauty,

I would laugh with her and sing,

I would shun divinest duty

To resume her worshipping.

But she’d scorn my brave endeavor,

She would not balm the breeze

By murmuring, “Thine for ever!”

As she did upon this leaze.