by Thomas Hardy
I saw a dead man's finer part
Shining within each faithful heart
Of those bereft. Then said I: "This must be
I looked there as the seasons wore,
And still his soul continuously upbore
Its life in theirs. But less its shine excelled
Than when I first beheld.
His fellow-yearsmen passed, and then
In later hearts I looked for him again;
And found him--shrunk, alas! into a thin
And spectral mannikin.
Lastly I ask--now old and chill -
If aught of him remain unperished still;
And find, in me alone, a feeble spark,
Dying amid the dark.