(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928 / Dorchester / England)

The Two Soldiers

Just at the corner of the wall
We met - yes, he and I -
Who had not faced in camp or hall
Since we bade home good-bye,
And what once happened came back - all -
Out of those years gone by.


And that strange woman whom we knew
And loved - long dead and gone,
Whose poor half-perished residue,
Tombless and trod, lay yon!
But at this moment to our view
Rose like a phantom wan.


And in his fixed face I could see,
Lit by a lurid shine,
The drama re-enact which she
Had dyed incarnadine
For us, and more. And doubtless he
Beheld it too in mine.


A start, as at one slightly known,
And with an indifferent air
We passed, without a sign being shown
That, as it real were,
A memory-acted scene had thrown
Its tragic shadow there.

by Thomas Hardy

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