The Internet Poetry Archive

At An Inn

Thomas Hardy

When we as strangers sought
    Their catering care,
Veiled smiles bespoke their thought
    Of what we were.
They warmed as they opined
    Us more than friends--
That we had all resigned
    For love's dear ends.

And that swift sympathy
    With living love
Which quicks the world--maybe
    The spheres above,
Made them our ministers,
    Moved them to say,
"Ah, God, that bliss like theirs
    Would flush our day!"

And we were left alone
    As Love's own pair;
Yet never the love-light shone
    Between us there!
But that which chilled the breath
    Of afternoon,
And palsied unto death
    The pane-fly's tune.

The kiss their zeal foretold,
    And now deemed come,
Came not: within his hold
    Love lingered numb.
Why cast he on our port
    A bloom not ours?
Why shaped us for his sport
    In after-hours?

As we seemed we were not
    That day afar,
And now we seem not what
    We aching are.
O severing sea and land,
    O laws of men,
Ere death, once let us stand
    As we stood then!

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