I said to love

I said to Love, 

“It is not now as in old days 
When men adored thee and thy ways 
   All else above; 
Named thee the Boy, the Bright, the One 
Who spread a heaven beneath the sun,” 
   I said to Love. 

   I said to him, 
“We now know more of thee than then; 
We were but weak in judgment when, 
   With hearts abrim, 
We clamoured thee that thou would’st please 
Inflict on us thine agonies,” 
   I said to him. 

   I said to Love, 
“Thou art not young, thou art not fair, 
No faery darts, no cherub air, 
   Nor swan, nor dove 
Are thine; but features pitiless, 
And iron daggers of distress,” 
   I said to Love. 

   “Depart then, Love! . . . 
– Man’s race shall end, dost threaten thou? 
The age to come the man of now 
   Know nothing of? – 
We fear not such a threat from thee; 
We are too old in apathy! 
Mankind shall cease.–So let it be,” 
   I said to Love.

by Thomas Hardy


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