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An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
Table Of Contents
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Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock. "Now they are all on their knees."° An elder said as we sat in a flock By the embers in hearthside ease. We pictured the meek mild creatures where They dwelt in their strawy pen, Nor did it occur to one of us there To doubt they were kneeling then. So fair a fancy few would weave In these years! Yet, I feel, If someone said on Christmas Eve, "Come; see the oxen kneel, "In the lonely barton° by yonder coomb° Our childhood used to know," I should go with him in the gloom, Hoping it might be so. ° According to an old folk belief the oxen still kneel on Christmas Eve as they did when Christ was born. ° Farmyard ° Small valley


Thomas Hardy

"O 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown! Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town? And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?"-- "O didn't you know I'd been ruined?" said she. --"You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks, Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks,* And now you've gay bracelets and bright feathers three!"-- "Yes: that's how we dress when we're ruined," said she. --"At home in the barton* you said 'thee' and 'thou,' And 'thik oon,' and 'theäs oon,' and 't'other'; but now Your talking quite fits 'ee for high compa-ny!"-- "Some polish is gained with one's ruin," said she. --"Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak But now I'm bewitched by your delicate cheek, And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!"-- "We never do work when we're ruined," said she. --"You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream, And you'd sigh, and you'd sock;* but at present you seem To know not of megrims* or melancho-ly!"-- "True. One's pretty lively when ruined," said she. --"I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown, And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!"-- "My dear--a raw country girl, such as you be, Cannot quite expect that. You ain't ruined," said she. * docks: weeds (burdock); *barton: farm yard; *sock:; *megrims: migraine headache

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