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Thoughts of Phena

AT NEWS OF HER DEATH

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Not a line of her writing have I, Not a thread of her hair, No mark of her late time as dame in her dwelling, whereby I may picture her there; And in vain do I urge my unsight To conceive my lost prize At her close, whom I knew when her dreams were upbrimming with light, And with laughter her eyes.

What scenes spread around her last days, Sad, shining, or dim? Did her gifts and compassions enray and enarch her sweet ways With an aureate nimb? Or did life-light decline from her years, And mischances control Her full day-star; unease, or regret, or forebodings, or fears Disennoble her soul?

Thus I do but the phantom retain Of the maiden of yore As my relic; yet haply the best of her--fined in my brain It maybe the more That no line of her writing have I, Nor a thread of her hair, No mark of her late time as dame in her dwelling, whereby I may picture her there.

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March 1890.

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Thomas Hardy