The Dead Man Walking

Original Text: 
Collected Poems of Thomas Hardy (London: Macmillan and Co., 1932): 202-03. PR 4741 F32 Robarts Library.
1They hail me as one living,
2    But don't they know
3That I have died of late years,
4    Untombed although?
5I am but a shape that stands here,
6    A pulseless mould,
7A pale past picture, screening
8    Ashes gone cold.
9Not at a minute's warning,
10    Not in a loud hour,
11For me ceased Time's enchantments
12    In hall and bower.
13There was no tragic transit,
14    No catch of breath,
15When silent seasons inched me
16    On to this death ....
17-- A Troubadour-youth I rambled
18    With Life for lyre,
19The beats of being raging
20    In me like fire.
21But when I practised eyeing
22    The goal of men,
23It iced me, and I perished
24    A little then.
26    Through the Last Door,
27And left me standing bleakly,
28    I died yet more;
29And when my Love's heart kindled
30    In hate of me,
31Wherefore I knew not, died I
32    One more degree.
33And if when I died fully
34    I cannot say,
35And changed into the corpse-thing
37Yet is it that, though whiling
38    The time somehow
39In walking, talking, smiling,
40    I live not now.


25] kinsfolk,: "kinsfolk" in 1909. Back to Line
36] "to-day,": "to-day;" in 1909. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Time's Laughingstocks and Other Verses (London: Macmillan, 1909): 49-50. PR 4750 T5 Robarts Library
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.