Verse > Thomas Hardy > Wessex Poems and Other Verses
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Thomas Hardy (1840–1928).  Wessex Poems and Other Verses.  1898.
 
7. A Confession to a Friend in Trouble
 
 
YOUR troubles shrink not, though I feel them less
  Here, far away, than when I tarried near;
I even smile old smiles—with listlessness—
  Yet smiles they are, not ghastly mockeries mere.
 
A thought too strange to house within my brain        5
  Haunting its outer precincts I discern:
  —That I will not show zeal again to learn
Your griefs, and, sharing them, renew my pain….
 
It goes, like murky bird or buccaneer
That shapes its lawless figure on the main,        10
And each new impulse tends to make outflee
The unseemly instinct that had lodgment here;
Yet, comrade old, can bitterer knowledge be
Than that, though banned, such instinct was in me!

1866.
 

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