The Masked Face

By Thomas Hardy 1840–1928 Thomas Hardy
I found me in a great surging space,
      At either end a door,
And I said: "What is this giddying place,
      With no firm-fixéd floor,
      That I knew not of before?"
      "It is Life," said a mask-clad face.

I asked: "But how do I come here,
      Who never wished to come;
Can the light and air be made more clear,
      The floor more quietsome,
      And the doors set wide? They numb
      Fast-locked, and fill with fear."

The mask put on a bleak smile then,
      And said, "O vassal-wight,
There once complained a goosequill pen
      To the scribe of the Infinite
      Of the words it had to write
      Because they were past its ken."

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Poet Thomas Hardy 1840–1928

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Faith & Doubt, Religion, Living, Death

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Thomas  Hardy

Biography

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 . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Faith & Doubt, Religion, Living, Death

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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