“I Look Into My Glass” & “The To-Be-Forgotten”: Two poems by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

image_t6

I look into my glass

I look into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, ‘Would God it came to pass
My hearth had shrunk as thin!’

For then, I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
Could lonely wait my endless rest
With equanimity.

But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.

* * * *

The To-be-forgotten

I
            I heard a small sad sound,
And stood awhile among the tombs around:
“Wherefore, old friends,” said I, “are you distrest,
            Now, screened from life’s unrest?”
II
            —”O not at being here;
But that our future second death is near;
When, with the living, memory of us numbs,
            And blank oblivion comes!
III
            “These, our sped ancestry,
Lie here embraced by deeper death than we;
Nor shape nor thought of theirs can you descry
            With keenest backward eye.
IV
            “They count as quite forgot;
They are as men who have existed not;
Theirs is a loss past loss of fitful breath;
            It is the second death.
V
            “We here, as yet, each day
Are blest with dear recall; as yet, can say
We hold in some soul loved continuance
            Of shape and voice and glance.
VI
            “But what has been will be —
First memory, then oblivion’s swallowing sea;
Like men foregone, shall we merge into those
            Whose story no one knows.
VII
            “For which of us could hope
To show in life that world-awakening scope
Granted the few whose memory none lets die,
            But all men magnify?
VIII
            “We were but Fortune’s sport;
Things true, things lovely, things of good report
We neither shunned nor sought … We see our bourne,
            And seeing it we mourn.”

Thomas Hardy

Read other poems by the same author:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s