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358. The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy
Time-length-icon 1m 44s
Plays-icon 5,676
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Publish-date-icon October 26, 2008
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EPISODE DESCRIPTION

T Hardy read by Classic Poetry Aloud:
http://www.classicpoetryaloud.com/

Giving voice to the poetry of the past.

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The Darkling Thrush

by Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928)

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seem’d to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seem'd fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carollings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessèd Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

First aired: 17 November 2007

For hundreds more poetry readings, visit the Classic Poetry Aloud index.

Reading © Classic Poetry Aloud 2008

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