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10.6: The Impercipient

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  • Thomas Hardy

    (at a Cathedral Service)

    That from this bright believing band
    An outcast I should be,
    That faiths by which my comrades stand
    Seem fantasies to me,
    And mirage-mists their Shining Land,
    Is a drear destiny.

    Why thus my soul should be consigned
    To infelicity,
    Why always I must feel as blind
    To sights my brethren see,
    Why joys they’ve found I cannot find,
    Abides[1] a mystery.

    Since heart of mine knows not that ease
    Which they know; since it be
    That He who breathes All’s Well to these
    Breathes no All’s Well to me,
    My lack might move their sympathies
    And Christian charity!

    I am like a gazer who should mark
    An inland company
    Standing upfingered, with, “Hark! hark!
    The glorious distant sea!”
    And feel, “Alas, ’tis but yon dark
    And wind-swept pine to me!”

    Yet I would bear my shortcomings
    With meet tranquillity,
    But for the charge that blessed things
    I’d liefer[2] have unbe.

    O, doth a bird deprived of wings
    Go earth-bound wilfully!
    . . . .
    Enough. As yet disquiet clings
    About us. Rest shall we.

    — 1898


    • Template:ContribSexton

    1. Remains.
    2. Rather.
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