Verse > Thomas Hardy > Wessex Poems and Other Verses
Thomas Hardy (1840–1928).  Wessex Poems and Other Verses.  1898.
44. At an Inn
WHEN we as strangers sought
  Their catering care,
Veiled smiles bespoke their thought
  Of what we were.
They warmed as they opined        5
  Us more than friends—
That we had all resigned
  For love’s dear ends.
And that swift sympathy
  With living love        10
Which quicks the world—maybe
  The spheres above,
Made them our ministers,
  Moved them to say,
“Ah, God, that bliss like theirs        15
  Would flush our day!”
And we were left alone
  As Love’s own pair;
Yet never the love-light shone
  Between us there!        20
But that which chilled the breath
  Of afternoon,
And palsied unto death
  The pane-fly’s tune.
The kiss their zeal foretold,        25
  And now deemed come,
Came not: within his hold
  Love lingered numb.
Why cast he on our port
  A bloom not ours?        30
Why shaped us for his sport
  In after-hours?
As we seemed we were not
  That day afar,
And now we seem not what        35
  We aching are.
O severing sea and land,
  O laws of men,
Ere death, once let us stand
  As we stood then!        40


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