Let Me Enjoy

Today is the birthday of the sensitive and melancholy Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), who in 1897 departed England for Switzerland in order to “escape the racket of the Diamond Jubilee” (Queen Victoria’s, on that occasion). He would be obliged to go much further than Switzerland this time around, what with continuous satellite coverage of Elizabeth II’s festivities.

For his birthday I post this poem, and, despite the final verse’s mournful assumption about Hardy’s fate, I post also a painting of some cheerful yellow pansies. Since we know not the aims of the loveliness of pansies.


Let me enjoy the earth no less
Because the all-enacting Might
That fashioned forth its loveliness
Had other aims than my delight.

About my path there flits a Fair,
Who throws me not a word or sign;
I’ll charm me with her ignoring air,
And laud the lips not meant for mine.

From manuscripts of moving song
Inspired by scenes and dreams unknown
I’ll pour out raptures that belong
To others, as they were my own.

And some day hence, towards Paradise
And all its blest—if such should be—
I will lift glad, afar-off eyes
Though it contain no place for me.

—Thomas Hardy

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