Poem Thomas Hardy

Rome: The Vatican-Sala Delle Muse

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I sat in the Muses’ Hall at the mid of the day,
And it seemed to grow still, and the people to pass away,
And the chiselled shapes to combine in a haze of sun,
Till beside a Carrara column there gleamed forth One.

She was nor this nor that of those beings divine,
But each and the whole—an essence of all the Nine;
With tentative foot she neared to my halting-place,
A pensive smile on her sweet, small, marvellous face.

“Regarded so long, we render thee sad?” said she.
“Not you,” sighed I, “but my own inconstancy!
I worship each and each; in the morning one,
And then, alas! another at sink of sun.

“To-day my soul clasps Form; but where is my troth
Of yesternight with Tune:  can one cleave to both?”
— “Be not perturbed,” said she.  “Though apart in fame,
As I and my sisters are one, those, too, are the same.

— “But my loves go further—to Story, and Dance, and Hymn,
The lover of all in a sun-sweep is fool to whim —
Is swayed like a river-weed as the ripples run!”
— “Nay, wight, thou sway’st not.  These are but phases of one;

“And that one is I; and I am projected from thee,
One that out of thy brain and heart thou causest to be —
Extern to thee nothing.  Grieve not, nor thyself becall,
Woo where thou wilt; and rejoice thou canst love at all!

Rome: At the Pyramid of Cestius
Rome: Building a New Street in the Ancient Quarter


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