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Thomas Hardy (Томас Харди)

A Musical Incident

When I see the room it hurts me
As with a pricking blade,
Those women being the memoried reason why my cheer deserts me. –
’Twas thus. One of them played
To please her friend, not knowing
That friend was speedily growing,
Behind the player’s chair,
Somnolent, unaware
Of any music there.

I saw it, and it distressed me,
For I had begun to think
I loved the drowsy listener, when this arose to test me
And tug me from love’s brink.
‘Beautiful!’ said she, waking
As the music ceased. ‘Heart-aching!’
Though never a note she’d heard
To judge of as averred –
Save that of the very last word.

All would have faded in me,
But that the sleeper brought
News a week thence that her friend was dead. It stirred within me
Sense of injustice wrought
That dead player’s poor intent –
So heartily, kindly meant –
As blandly added the sigher:
‘How glad I am I was nigh her,
To hear her last tune!’ – ‘Liar!’
I lipped. – This gave love pause,
And killed it, such as it was.

Thomas Hardy's other poems:
  1. Dream of the City Shopwoman
  2. A Maiden’s Pledge
  3. Meditations on a Holiday
  4. An Experience
  5. The Collector Cleans His Picture

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