Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
She, to Him
By Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)
WHEN you shall see me in the toils of Time,
My lauded beauties carried off from me,
My eyes no longer stars as in their prime,
My name forgot of Maiden Fair and Free;
When in your being heart concedes to mind,        5
And judgement, though you scarce its process know,
Recalls the excellences I once enshrined,
And you are irk’d that they have wither’d so;
Remembering mine the loss is, not the blame,
That Sportsman Time but rears his brood to kill,        10
Knowing me in my soul the very same—
One who would die to spare you touch of ill!—
Will you not grant to old affection’s claim
The hand of friendship down Life’s sunless hill?
PERHAPS, long hence, when I have pass’d away,
Some other’s feature, accent, thought like mine,
Will carry you back to what I used to say,
And bring some memory of your love’s decline.
Then you may pause awhile and think, ‘Poor jade!’
And yield a sigh to me—as ample due,        20
Not as the tittle of a debt unpaid
To one who could resign her all to you—
And thus reflecting, you will never see
That your thin thought, in two small words convey’d,
Was no such fleeting phantom-thought to me,        25
But the Whole Life wherein my part was play’d;
And you amid its fitful masquerade
A Thought—as I in yours but seem to be.

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