No Buyers

By Thomas Hardy 1840–1928 Thomas Hardy
      A Load of brushes and baskets and cradles and chairs
            Labours along the street in the rain:
With it a man, a woman, a pony with whiteybrown hairs. —
      The man foots in front of the horse with a shambling sway
            At a slower tread than a funeral train,
      While to a dirge-like tune he chants his wares,
Swinging a Turk's-head brush (in a drum-major's way
                  When the bandsmen march and play).

A yard from the back of the man is the whiteybrown pony's nose:
He mirrors his master in every item of pace and pose:
            He stops when the man stops, without being told,
      And seems to be eased by a pause; too plainly he's old,
                  Indeed, not strength enough shows
            To steer the disjointed waggon straight,
      Which wriggles left and right in a rambling line,
      Deflected thus by its own warp and weight,
      And pushing the pony with it in each incline.

            The woman walks on the pavement verge,
                  Parallel to the man:
      She wears an apron white and wide in span,
And carries a like Turk's-head, but more in nursing-wise:
      Now and then she joins in his dirge,
      But as if her thoughts were on distant things,
      The rain clams her apron till it clings. —
So, step by step, they move with their merchandize,
                  And nobody buys.

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Poet Thomas Hardy 1840–1928

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Living, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Landscapes & Pastorals, Nature, Class

Poetic Terms Pastoral

 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 Living, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Landscapes & Pastorals, Nature, Class

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Pastoral

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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