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Humanities Libertexts

10.8: The Going

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    3183
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    Thomas Hardy

    Why did you give no hint that night
    That quickly after the morrow’s dawn,
    And calmly, as if indifferent quite,
    You[1] would close your term here, up and be gone
    Where I could not follow
    With wing of swallow
    To gain one glimpse of you ever anon!

    Never to bid good-bye
    Or lip me the softest call,
    Or utter a wish for a word, while I
    Saw morning harden upon the wall,
    Unmoved, unknowing
    That your great going
    Had place that moment, and altered all.

    Why do you make me leave the house
    And think for a breath it is you I see
    At the end of the alley of bending boughs
    Where so often at dusk you used to be;
    Till in darkening dankness
    The yawning blankness
    Of the perspective sickens me!

    You were she who abode
    By those red-veined rocks far West,
    You were the swan-necked one who rode
    Along the beetling Beeny Crest[2],
    And, reining nigh me,
    Would muse and eye me,
    While Life unrolled us its very best.

    Why, then, latterly did we not speak,
    Did we not think of those days long dead,
    And ere your vanishing strive to seek
    That time’s renewal?  We might have said,

    “In this bright spring weather
    We’ll visit together
    Those places that once we visited.”

    Well, well!  All’s past amend,
    Unchangeable.  It must go.
    I seem but a dead man held on end
    To sink down soon. . . .  O you could not know
    That such swift fleeing
    No soul foreseeing—
    Not even I—would undo me so!

    — 1912

    Contributors


    1. Hardy’s first wife, Emma. They married in 1874, and she died in 1912. 
    2. A cliff on the sea coast of northern Cornwall near the village where Hardy first met and began courting Emma Gifford. Hardy’s biographer notes that Emma was a fine horsewoman, who enjoyed “galloping over the hills on her beloved mare...bright hair streaming” (Halliday, p. 56). 
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