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Thomas Hardy (Томас Харди)


The Duel


‘I am here to time, you see;
The glade is well-screened – eh? – against alarm;
Fit place to vindicate by my arm
The honour of my spotless wife,
Who scorns your libel upon her life
In boasting intimacy!

‘ “All hush-offerings you’ll spurn,
My husband. Two must come; one only go,”
She said. “That he’ll be you I know;
To faith like ours Heaven will be just,
And I shall abide in fullest trust
Your speedy glad return.” ’

‘Good. Here am also I;
And we’ll proceed without more waste of words
To warm your cockpit. Of the swords
Take you your choice. I shall thereby
Feel that on me no blame can lie,
Whatever Fate accords.’

So stripped they there, and fought,
And the swords clicked and scraped, and the onsets sped;
Till the husband fell; and his shirt was red
With streams from his heart’s hot cistern. Nought
Could save him now; and the other, wrought
Maybe to pity, said:

‘Why did you urge on this?
Your wife assured you; and ’t had better been
That you had let things pass, serene
In confidence of long-tried bliss,
Holding there could be nought amiss
In what my words might mean.’

Then, seeing nor ruth nor rage
Could move his foeman more – now Death’s deaf thrall –
He wiped his steel, and, with a call
Like turtledove to dove, swift broke
Into the copse, where under an oak
His horse cropt, held by a page.

‘All’s over, Sweet,’ he cried
To the wife, thus guised; for the young page was she.
‘’Tis as we hoped and said ’t would be.
He never guessed... We mount and ride
To where our love can reign uneyed.
He’s clay, and we are free.’



Thomas Hardy's other poems:
  1. I Worked No Wile to Meet You
  2. Dream of the City Shopwoman
  3. A Maiden’s Pledge
  4. The Child and the Sage
  5. Meditations on a Holiday


Poems of other poets with the same name (Стихотворения других поэтов с таким же названием):

  • Eugene Field (Юджин Филд) The Duel ("THE gingham dog and the calico cat")

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