The Internet Poetry Archive

A Metting With Despair

Thomas Hardy

As evening shaped I found me on a moor
    Which sight could scarce sustain:
The black lean land, of featureless contour,
    Was like a tract in pain.

"This scene, like my own life," I said, "is one
    Where many glooms abide;
Toned by its fortune to a deadly dun--
    Lightless on every side."

I glanced aloft and halted, pleasure-caught
    To see the contrast there:
The ray-lit clouds gleamed glory; and I thought,
    "There's solace everywhere!"

Then bitter self-reproaches as I stood
    I dealt me silently
As one perverse--misrepresenting Good
    In graceless mutiny.

Against the horizon's dim-descernèd wheel
    A form rose, strange of mould:
That he was hideous, hopeless, I could feel
    Rather than could behold.

"'Tis a dead spot, where even the light lies spent
    To darkness!" croaked the Thing.
"Not if you look aloft!" said I, intent
    On my new reasoning.

"Yea--but await awhile!" he cried. "Ho-ho!--
    Look now aloft and see!"
I looked. There, too, sat night: Heaven's radiant show
    Had gone. Then chuckled he.

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