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Ditty

(E. L G.)

Beneath a knap where flown Nestlings play, Within walls of weathered stone, Far away From the files of formal houses, By the bough the firstling browses, Lives a Sweet: no merchants meet, No man barters, no man sells Where she dwells.

Upon that fabric fair "Here is she!" Seems written everywhere Unto me. But to friends and nodding neighbours, Fellow-wights in lot and labours, Who descry the times as I, No such lucid legend tells Where she dwells.

Should I lapse to what I was Ere we met; (Such can not be, but because Some forget Let me feign it)--none would notice That where she I know by rote is Spread a strange and withering change, Like a drying of the wells Where she dwells.

To feel I might have kissed - Loved as true - Otherwhere, nor Mine have missed My life through. Had I never wandered near her, Is a smart severe--severer In the thought that she is nought, Even as I, beyond the dells Where she dwells.

And Devotion droops her glance To recall What bond-servants of Chance We are all. I but found her in that, going On my errant path unknowing, I did not out-skirt the spot That no spot on earth excels, --Where she dwells!

1870.

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Thomas Hardy