Poetry: The Subalterns by Thomas Hardy

Robert Frank

The Subalterns
by Thomas Hardy


                         I

“Poor wanderer," said the leaden sky,
     “I fain would lighten thee,
But there are laws in force on high
     Which say it must not be.”
                     
                         II

--“I would not freeze thee, shorn one," cried
     The North, “knew I but how
To warm my breath, to slack my stride;
     But I am ruled as thou.”

                        III

--“To-morrow I attack thee, wight,"
     Said Sickness. “Yet I swear
I bear thy little ark no spite,
     But am bid enter there.”

                        IV

--“Come hither, Son," I heard Death say;
     “I did not will a grave
Should end thy pilgrimage to-day,
     But I, too, am a slave!”
                 
                        V

We smiled upon each other then,
     And life to me had less
Of that fell look it wore ere when 
     They owned their passiveness.

---
Listen to my reading of "The Subalterns" below:


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