The Widow

By Mellstock Lodge and Avenue
  Towards her door I went,
And sunset on her window-panes
  Reflected our intent.

The creeper on the gable nigh
  Was fired to more than red
And when I came to halt thereby
  "Bright as my joy!" I said.

Of late days it had been her aim
  To meet me in the hall;
Now at my footsteps no one came;
  And no one to my call.

Again I knocked; and tardily
  An inner step was heard,
And I was shown her presence then
  With scarce an answering word.

She met me, and but barely took
  My proffered warm embrace;
Preoccupation weighed her look,
  And hardened her sweet face.

"To-morrow--could you--would you call?
  Make brief your present stay?
My child is ill--my one, my all! -
  And can't be left to-day."

And then she turns, and gives commands
  As I were out of sound,
Or were no more to her and hers
  Than any neighbour round . . .

- As maid I wooed her; but one came
  And coaxed her heart away,
And when in time he wedded her
  I deemed her gone for aye.

He won, I lost her; and my loss
  I bore I know not how;
But I do think I suffered then
  Less wretchedness than now.

For Time, in taking him, had oped
  An unexpected door
Of bliss for me, which grew to seem
  Far surer than before . . .

Her word is steadfast, and I know
  That plighted firm are we:
But she has caught new love-calls since
  She smiled as maid on me!

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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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