The Darkling Thrush

Original Text: 
Collected Poems of Thomas Hardy (London: Macmillan and Co., 1932): 137. PR 4741 F32 Robarts Library.
2    When Frost was spectre-gray,
3And Winter's dregs made desolate
4    The weakening eye of day.
7And all mankind that haunted nigh
8    Had sought their household fires.
9The land's sharp features seemed to be
10    The Century's corpse outleant,
11His crypt the cloudy canopy,
12    The wind his death-lament.
13The ancient pulse of germ and birth
14    Was shrunken hard and dry,
15And every spirit upon earth
16    Seemed fervourless as I.
18    The bleak twigs overhead
19In a full-hearted evensong
20    Of joy illimited;
21An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
22    In blast-beruffled plume,
23Had chosen thus to fling his soul
24    Upon the growing gloom.
25So little cause for carolings
26    Of such ecstatic sound
27Was written on terrestrial things
28    Afar or nigh around,
29That I could think there trembled through
30    His happy good-night air
31Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
32    And I was unaware.


1] coppice: small wood or copse. Back to Line
5] bine-stems: shoots from a climbing plant. Back to Line
6] of: "from" omitted 1903. Back to Line
17] arose: "outburst" in 1903. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Poems of the Past and Present, 2nd edn. (1902 [1901]: London: Macmillan, 1903): 169-71. PR 4741 F03 Robarts Library
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.