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This item is taken from PN Review 143, Volume 28 Number 3, January - February 2002.

Letter from Robert Nye
Hardy's Pathos


In his article 'Some Versions of Pathos' (PNR 142), David Gervais claims that Thomas Hardy's poems following the death of his first wife leave out of account both her view of him and the fact that 'it was a long time since he had even liked her in life'. Neither claim is true. Gervais must have forgotten in particular the great poem 'An Upbraiding', where Hardy turns upon his own grief, criticising himself by speaking in the imagined voice of Emma:

Now I am dead you sing to me
    The songs we used to know,
But while I lived you had no wish
    Or care for doing so.

Now I am dead you come to me
    In the moonlight, comfortless;
Ah, what would I have given alive
    To win such tenderness!

When you are dead, and stand to me
    Not differenced, as now,
But like again, will you be cold
    As when we lived, or how?
                        (Moments of Vision, 1917)

County Cork

This item is taken from PN Review 143, Volume 28 Number 3, January - February 2002.

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