The Temporary The All

by Thomas Hardy

Change and chancefulness in my flowering youthtime,
Set me sun by sun near to one unchosen;
Wrought us fellow-like, and despite divergence,
Friends interlinked us.

“Cherish him can I while the true one forthcome –
Come the rich fulfiller of my prevision;
Life is roomy yet, and the odds unbounded.”
So self-communed I.

Thwart my wistful way did a damsel saunter,
Fair, the while unformed to be all-eclipsing;
“Maiden meet,” held I, “till arise my forefelt
Wonder of women.”

Long a visioned hermitage deep desiring,
Tenements uncouth I was fain to house in;
“Let such lodging be for a breath-while,” thought I,
“Soon a more seemly.

“Then, high handiwork will I make my life-deed,
Truth and Light outshow; but the ripe time pending,
Intermissive aim at the thing sufficeth.”
Thus I . . . But lo, me!

Mistress, friend, place, aims to be bettered straightway,
Bettered not has Fate or my hand’s achieving;
Sole the showance those of my onward earth-track –
Never transcended!

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