The Phantom Horsewoman

By Thomas Hardy 1840–1928 Thomas Hardy
                                  I

Queer are the ways of a man I know:
             He comes and stands
             In a careworn craze,
             And looks at the sands
             And the seaward haze
             With moveless hands
             And face and gaze,
             Then turns to go...
And what does he see when he gazes so?

                                  II

They say he sees as an instant thing
             More clear than to-day,
             A sweet soft scene
             That once was in play
             By that briny green;
             Yes, notes alway
             Warm, real, and keen,
             What his back years bring—
A phantom of his own figuring.

                                  III

Of this vision of his they might say more:
             Not only there
             Does he see this sight,
             But everywhere
             In his brain–day, night,
             As if on the air
             It were drawn rose bright–
             Yea, far from that shore
Does he carry this vision of heretofore:

                                  IV

A ghost-girl-rider. And though, toil-tried,
             He withers daily,
             Time touches her not,
             But she still rides gaily
             In his rapt thought
             On that shagged and shaly
             Atlantic spot,
             And as when first eyed
Draws rein and sings to the swing of the tide.

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Poet Thomas Hardy 1840–1928

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Heartache & Loss

 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 Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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