Thomas Hardy

Mingled the moonlight with daylight—the last in the narrowing west;
Silence of nightfall lay over the shallowing valleys at rest
In the Earth’s green breast:
Yet a small multitudinous singing, a lully of voices of birds,
Unseen in the vague shelving hollows, welled up with my questioning words:
All Dorsetshire’s larks for connivance of sweetness seemed trysting to greet
Him in whose songs the bodings of raven and nightingale meet.

Stooping and smiling, he questioned, “No birdnotes myself do I hear?
Perhaps ’twas the talk of chance farers, abroad in the hush with us here—
In the dusk-light clear?”
And there peered from his eyes, as I listened, a concourse of women and men,
Whom his words had made living, long-suffering—they flocked to remembrance again;
“O Master,” I cried in my heart, “lorn thy tidings, grievous thy song;
Yet thine, too, this solacing music, as we earthfolk stumble along.” 

Our thanks to the Trustees of Walter de la Mare and the Society of Authors as their Representative for the use of this poem. Find The Walter de la Mare Society at Part of the BBC 100 collection.

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