Night in a Suburb

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Night in a Suburb

(NEAR TOOTING COMMON)

BY THOMAS HARDY


WHILE rain, with eve in partnership,
Descended darkly, drip, drip, drip,
Beyond the last lone lamp I passed
 Walking slowly, whispering sadly,
Two linked loiterers, wan, downcast;
Some heavy thought constrained each face,
And made them blank to time and place.

The pair seemed lovers, yet absorbed
In mental scenes no longer orbed
By love's young light. Each countenance
 As it slowly, as it sadly
Caught the lamplight's yellow glance.
Held in suspense a misery
At things which might, or might not, be.

When I retrod that watery way
Some hours beyond the death of day,
Still I found pacing there the twain
 Just as slowly, just as sadly,
Heedless of the night and rain.
One could but wonder who they were,
And what wild woe detained them there.

Though thirty years of blur and blot
Have flown since I beheld that spot,
And saw in curious converse there
 Moving slowly, moving sadly,
That mysterious tragic pair,
Its olden look may linger on—
All but the couple; they have gone.

Whither? Who knows, indeed! . . . And yet
To me, when nights are weird and wet,
Without those comrades there at tryst
 Creeping slowly, creeping sadly,
That lone lane does not exist.
Still they seem brooding on their pain,
And will, while such a lane remain.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.


The author died in 1928, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.