By Thomas Hardy 1840–1928 Thomas Hardy
At last I entered a long dark gallery,
      Catacomb-lined; and ranged at the side
      Were the bodies of men from far and wide
Who, motion past, were nevertheless not dead.

      "The sense of waiting here strikes strong;
Everyone's waiting, waiting, it seems to me;
      What are you waiting for so long? —
            What is to happen?" I said.

"O we are waiting for one called God," said they,
      "(Though by some the Will, or Force, or Laws;
      And, vaguely, by some, the Ultimate Cause;)
Waiting for him to see us before we are clay.
      Yes; waiting, waiting, for God to know it." ...

      "To know what?" questioned I.
"To know how things have been going on earth and below it:
      It is clear he must know some day."
      I thereon asked them why.
"Since he made us humble pioneers
Of himself in consciousness of Life's tears,
It needs no mighty prophecy
To tell that what he could mindlessly show
His creatures, he himself will know.

"By some still close-cowled mystery
We have reached feeling faster than he,
But he will overtake us anon,
      If the world goes on."

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Thomas Hardy 1840–1928



Subjects Faith & Doubt, Religion, Living, Death

 Thomas  Hardy


One of the most renowned poets and novelists in English literary history, Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in the English village of Higher Bockhampton in the county of Dorset. He died in 1928 at Max Gate, a house he built for himself and his first wife, Emma Lavinia Gifford, in Dorchester, a few miles from his birthplace. Hardy’s youth was influenced by the musicality of his father, a stonemason and fiddler, and his mother, Jemima . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Faith & Doubt, Religion, Living, Death



Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.