A Man (In Memory Of H. Of M.)

I

In Casterbridge there stood a noble pile,
Wrought with pilaster, bay, and balustrade
In tactful times when shrewd Eliza swayed. -
   On burgher, squire, and clown
It smiled the long street down for near a mile

II

But evil days beset that domicile;
The stately beauties of its roof and wall
Passed into sordid hands. Condemned to fall
   Were cornice, quoin, and cove,
And all that art had wove in antique style.

III

Among the hired dismantlers entered there
One till the moment of his task untold.
When charged therewith he gazed, and answered bold:
   "Be needy I or no,
I will not help lay low a house so fair!

IV

"Hunger is hard. But since the terms be such -
No wage, or labour stained with the disgrace
Of wrecking what our age cannot replace
   To save its tasteless soul -
I'll do without your dole. Life is not much!

V

Dismissed with sneers he backed his tools and went,
And wandered workless; for it seemed unwise
To close with one who dared to criticize
   And carp on points of taste:
To work where they were placed rude men were meant.

VI

Years whiled. He aged, sank, sickened, and was not:
And it was said, "A man intractable
And curst is gone." None sighed to hear his knell,
   None sought his churchyard-place;
His name, his rugged face, were soon forgot.

VII

The stones of that fair hall lie far and wide,
And but a few recall its ancient mould;
Yet when I pass the spot I long to hold
   As truth what fancy saith:
"His protest lives where deathless things abide!"

by Thomas Hardy

Comments (9)

'His protest lives where deathless things abide! ' - How marvelously the poem ends here! It takes a lot of courage and sacrifice to stand by our principles, but at the end of the day, men of principle stand out head and shoulder above others.
what takes years, sometimes centuries, to build can be taken down in a few hours or less. i think of ancient sites destroyed in syria and iraq. another message we can take from this is how vulnerable our things and we ourselves are, though typically, for those of us in comfortable circumstances, this is far from our minds. -gk
Bold! ! I long to hold! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
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Yet when I pass the spot I long to hold As truth what fancy saith: His protest lives where deathless things abide! standing for truth makes one live. in the minds of people. very good poem. tony
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