Thomas Hardy : Selected Poems book cover
1st Edition

Thomas Hardy
Selected Poems

ISBN 9781408204306
Published April 14, 2009 by Routledge
392 Pages

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Book Description

In Thomas Hardy: Selected Poems Tim Armstrong brings together over 180 poems in the first comprehensively annotated selection of Hardy’s poetry. Unlike most previous selections, this edition preserves the shape of the poet’s career by presenting the poems in the order in which they appeared in the Collected Poems of 1930, rather than re-ordering them thematically.

Head notes to each poem give the reader information about its composition, publication, sources and metrical scheme; on-the-page notes list significant variants in Hardy’s manuscripts, point out literary and other allusions, and give explanatory glosses. An appendix contains a selection of relevant passages from Hardy’s notebooks, letters, and autobiography; and a bibliography suggests further reading.

Tim Armstrong’s critical Introduction discusses Hardy’s career, his poetics, his use of memory and allusion and examines his position in the context of Victorian debates on aesthetics and belief. The generous selection of poems includes many lesser-known poems as well as those which have received most critical commentary, and the important elegiac sequence ‘Poems of 1912-13’ is included in its entirety.


Table of Contents




List of abbreviations





Hardy’s ‘second’ career

Turning to poetry

Poetry as posthumous vision

Necessity and free will

Typology and the pattern of a life

Sequences and patterns

God and history

Hardy and the dead

The ‘Poems of 1912-13’

Restoration and the past


Hardy’s style

The Gothic art-principle



Hardy and literary tradition

Selecting Hardy

A note on the annotations


A note on the text


The Poems

From Wessex Poems and Other Verses (1898)

  1. The temporary the All
  2. Hap
  3. Neutral Tones
  4. The Peasant’s Confession
  5. A Sign-Seeker
  6. Friends Beyond
  7. Thoughts of Phena
  8. Nature’s Questioning
  9. In a Eweleaze near Weatherbury
  10. ‘I look into my glass’


From Poems of the Past and the Present (1901)

  1. V.R. 1819-1901
  2. Drummer Hodge
  3. The Souls of Slain
  4. Rome: Building a New Street in the Ancient Quarter
  5. Rome: At the Pyramid of Cestius near the Graves of Shelley and Keats
  6. A Commonplace Day
  7. To an Unborn Pauper Child
  8. Her Reproach
  9. His Immortality
  10. Winter in Durnover Field
  11. The Darkling Thrush
  12. The Respectable Burgher on ‘The Higher Criticism’
  13. The Self-Unseeing
  14. In Tenebris I
  15. In Tenebris II
  16. In Tenebris III
  17. Tess’s Lament
  18. Sapphic Fragment


From Time’s Laughingstocks and Other Verses (1909)

  1. The Revisitation
  2. A Trampwoman’s Tragedy
  3. In the Mind’s Eye
  4. He Abjures Love
  5. Let Me Enjoy
  6. Julie-Jane
  7. The Dead Quire
  8. Night in the Old Home
  9. After the Last Breath
  10. One We Knew
  11. George Meredith, 1828-1909
  12. Yell’ham Wood’s Story
  13. A Young Man’s Epigram on Existence


From Satires of Circumstance, Lyrics and Reveries (1914)

  1. In Front of Landscape
  2. Channel Firing
  3. The Convergence of Twain
  4. ‘When I set out for Lyonnesse’
  5. Wessex Heights
  6. A Singer Asleep
  7. Self-Unconscious
  8. Under the Waterfall


‘Poems of 1912-13’

  1. The Going
  2. Your Last Drive
  3. The Walk
  4. Rain on a Grave
  5. ‘I found her out there’
  6. Without Ceremony
  7. Lament
  8. The Haunt
  9. The Voice
  10. His Visitor
  11. A Circular
  12. A Dream or No
  13. After a Journey
  14. A Death-Day Recalled
  15. Beeny Cliff
  16. At Castle Boterel
  17. Places
  18. The Phantom Horsewoman
  19. The Spell of Rose
  20. St Launce’s Revisited
  21. Where the Picnic Was
  22. The Obliterate Tomb
  23. The Workbox
  24. Exeunt Omnes
  25. A Poet
  26. In the Cemetery


From Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous Verses (1917)

  1. Moments of Vision
  2. The Voice of Things
  3. Apostrophes to an Old Psalm Tune
  4. At the Word ‘Farewell’
  5. Heredity
  6. Near Laniet, 1872
  7. Copying Architecture in an Old Minster
  8. To Shakespeare
  9. Quid Hic Agis?
  10. On a Midsummer Eve
  11. The Blinded Bird
  12. The Statue of Liberty
  13. The Change
  14. Lines to a Movement in Mozart’s E-Flat Symphony
  15. The Pedigree
  16. His Heart: A Woman’s Dream
  17. The Oxen
  18. The Photograph
  19. The Last Signal
  20. The Figure in the Scene
  21. Overlooking the River Stour
  22. The Musical Box
  23. Old Furniture
  24. The Five Students
  25. The Wind’s Prophecy
  26. During Wind and Rain
  27. A Backward Spring
  28. He Revisits His First School
  29. ‘I thought, my heart’
  30. The Shadow on the Stone
  31. ‘For Life I had never cared greatly’
  32. The Pity of It
  33. In Time of ‘The Breaking of Nations’
  34. A New Year’s Eve in War Time
  35. ‘I looked up from my writing’
  36. Afterwards


From Late Lyrics and Earlier (1922)

  1. Weathers
  2. ‘According to the Might Working’
  3. The Contretemps
  4. ‘And There Was a Great Calm’
  5. The Selfsame Song
  6. At Lulworth Cove a Century Back
  7. The Collector Cleans His Picture
  8. On the Tune Called the Old-Hundred-and-fourth
  9. Voices from Things Growing in a Churchyard
  10. After a Romantic Day
  11. In the Small Hours
  12. Last Words to a Dumb Friend
  13. A Drizzling Easter Morning
  14. ‘I was the midmost’
  15. The Inscription
  16. The Whitewashed Wall
  17. After Reading Psalms XXXIX, XL, etc.
  18. Surview


From Human Shows, Far Phantasies, Songs and Trifles (1925)

  1. Waiting Both
  2. A Bird-Scene at a Rural Dwelling
  3. In a Former Resort after Many Years
  4. A Cathedral Façade at Midnight
  5. The Monument-Maker
  6. The Later Autumn
  7. An East-End Curate
  8. Sine Prole
  9. A Sheep Fair
  10. Snow in the Suburbs
  11. A Light Snow-Fall after Frost
  12. Music in a Snowy Street
  13. In Sherborne Abbey
  14. The Mock Wife
  15. ‘Not only I’
  16. Her Haunting-Ground
  17. Days to Recollect
  18. This Summer and Last
  19. ‘Nothing matters much’
  20. Before My Friend Arrived
  21. The Bird-Cather’s Boy
  22. Song to an Old Burden
  23. ‘Why do I?’


From Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres (1928)

  1. The New Dawn’s Business
  2. Proud Songsters
  3. The Prophetess
  4. A Wish for Unconsciousness
  5. The Love-Letters
  6. Throwing a Tree
  7. Lying Awake
  8. Childhood Among the Ferns
  9. A Poet’s Though
  10. ‘I watched a blackbird’
  11. A Nightmare, and the Next Thing
  12. So Various
  13. An Evening in Galilee
  14. We field-women
  15. He Never Expected Much
  16. Standing by the Mantelpiece
  17. Our Old Friend Dualism
  18. Drinking Song
  19. The Aged Newspaper Soliloquizes
  20. Christmas: 1924
  21. The Boy’s Dream
  22. Family Portrait
  23. Christmas in the Elgin Room
  24. ‘We are getting to the end’
  25. He Resolves to Say No More


From Hardy’s Uncollected Poems

  1. Thoughts from Sophocles
  2. The Eve of Waterloo
  3. Prologue
  4. Epilogue
  5. On One Who Thought No Other Could Write Such English as Himself


Selections from Hardy’s Autobiography

Appendix I: Two Early Versions of Poems by Hardy


Appendix II

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