Verse > Thomas Hardy > Wessex Poems and Other Verses
Thomas Hardy (1840–1928).  Wessex Poems and Other Verses.  1898.
17. Ditty
BENEATH a knap where flown
  Nestlings play,
Within walls of weathered stone,
  Far away
From the files of formal houses,        5
By the bough the firstling browses,
Lives a Sweet: no merchants meet,
No man barters, no man sells
  Where she dwells.
Upon that fabric fair        10
  “Here is she!”
Seems written everywhere
  Unto me.
But to friends and nodding neighbors,
Fellow wights in lot and labors,        15
Who descry the times as I,
No such lucid legend tells
  Where she dwells.
Should I lapse to what I was
  In days by—        20
(Such cannot be, but because
  Some loves die
Let me feign it)—none would notice
That where she I know by rote is
Spread a strange and withering change,        25
Like a drying of the wells
  Where she dwells.
To feel I might have kissed—
  Loved as true—
Otherwhere, nor Mine have missed        30
  My life through,
Had I never wandered near her,
Is a smart severe—severer
In the thought that she is nought,
Even as I, beyond the dells        35
  Where she dwells.
And Devotion droops her glance
  To recall
What bond-servants of Chance
  We are all.        40
I but found her in that, going
On my errant path unknowing,
I did not out-skirt the spot
That no spot on earth excels—
  Where she dwells!



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