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I Look Into My Glass

July 24, 2014

By Thomas Hardy

Published in Wessex Poems and Other Verses in 1898, this was probably written when Hardy was in his mid 50’s. Tess of the d’Urbervilles was selling like hot cakes, he was daringly writing about sex in Jude the Obscure, and flirting with society ladies. But he was feeling his years.

Fifteen or so years later the widowed Hardy would marry his secretary Florence Dugdale, 39 years his junior. He was still a player.

I look into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, “Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!”

For then, I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
Could lonely wait my endless rest
With equanimity.

But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.

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