In Tenebris II

When the clouds' swoln bosoms echo back
                                the shouts of the many and strong
That things are all as they best may be,
                                save a few to be right ere long,
And my eyes have not the vision in them
                                to discern what to these is so clear,
The blot seems straightway in me alone;
                                one better he were not here.

The stout upstanders say, All's well
                                 with us: ruers have nought to rue!
And what the potent say so oft,
                                can it fail to be somewhat true?
Breezily go they, breezily come;
                                their dust smokes around their career,
Till I think I am one born out of due time,
                                who has no calling here.

Their dawns bring lusty joys, it seems;
                                their evenings all that is sweet;
Our times are blessed times, they cry:
                                Life shapes it as is most meet,
And nothing is much the matter;
                                there are many smiles to a tear;
Then what is the matter is I, I say.
                                Why should such an one be here? . . .

Let him in whose ears the low-voiced Best
                                is killed by the clash of the First,
Who holds that if way to the Better there be,
                                it exacts a full look at the Worst,
Who feels that delight is a delicate growth
                                cramped by crookedness, custom, and fear,
Get him up and be gone as one shaped awry;
                                he disturbs the order here.

Thomas Hardy


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