Her Immortality

Thomas Hardy 1840 (Stinsford) – 1928 (Dorchester, Dorset)

UPON a noon I pilgrimed through
  A pasture, mile by mile,
  Unto the place where I last saw
  My dead Love's living smile.

  And sorrowing I lay me down
  Upon the heated sod:
  It seemed as if my body pressed
  The very ground she trod.

  I lay, and thought; and in a trance
  She came and stood me by--
  The same, even to the marvellous ray
  That used to light her eye.

  "You draw me, and I come to you,
  My faithful one," she said,
  In voice that had the moving tone
  It bore in maidenhead.

  She said: "'Tis seven years since I died:
  Few now remember me;
  My husband clasps another bride;
  My children mothers she.

  My brethren, sisters, and my friends
  Care not to meet my sprite:
  Who prized me most I did not know
  Till I passed down from sight."

  I said: "My days are lonely here;
  I need thy smile alway:
  I'll use this night my ball or blade,
  And join thee ere the day."

  A tremor stirred her tender lips,
  Which parted to dissuade:
  "That cannot be, O friend," she cried;
  "Think, I am but a Shade!

  "A Shade but in its mindful ones
  Has immortality;
  By living, me you keep alive,
  By dying you slay me.

  "In you resides my single power
  Of sweet continuance here;
  On your fidelity I count
  Through many a coming year."

  --I started through me at her plight,
  So suddenly confessed:
  Dismissing late distaste for life,
  I craved its bleak unrest.

  "I will not die, my One of all!--
  To lengthen out thy days
  I'll guard me from minutest harms
  That may invest my ways!"

  She smiled and went. Since then she comes
  Oft when her birth-moon climbs,
  Or at the seasons' ingresses
  Or anniversary times;

  But grows my grief. When I surcease,
  Through whom alone lives she,
  Ceases my Love, her words, her ways,
  Never again to be!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011


Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy, was a Scottish Minister, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and Professor of Eccesiastical History at Edinburgh University. more…

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"Her Immortality" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 10 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/36383/her-immortality>.

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