Wives In The Sere

I

Never a careworn wife but shows,
   If a joy suffuse her,
Something beautiful to those
   Patient to peruse her,
Some one charm the world unknows
   Precious to a muser,
Haply what, ere years were foes,
   Moved her mate to choose her.

II

But, be it a hint of rose
   That an instant hues her,
Or some early light or pose
   Wherewith thought renews her -
Seen by him at full, ere woes
   Practised to abuse her -
Sparely comes it, swiftly goes,
   Time again subdues her.

by Thomas Hardy

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