Thomas Hardy – ‘Regret Not Me’


 [  No.71 of my favourite short poems  ]

Yorks-Haworth Churchyard-1983

‘The Churchyard, Haworth’ … WHB – Pen & Ink:  1983

There is sadness, but with a quiet acceptance, in Hardy’s recall of the optimism of his ‘heydays’.  He has come to an accommodation with old age. long life and a resignation which will take him content into his everlasting ‘slumber’.

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Regret not me;
Beneath the sunny tree
I lie uncaring, slumbering peacefully.

Swift as the light
I flew my faery flight;
Ecstatically I moved, and feared no night.

I did not know
That heydays fade and go,
But deemed that what was would be always so.

I skipped at morn
Between the yellowing corn,
Thinking it good and glorious to be born.

I ran at eves
Among the piled-up sheaves,
Dreaming, “I grieve not, therefore nothing grieves.”

Now soon will come
The apple, pear, and plum
And hinds will sing, and autumn insects hum.

Again you will fare
To cider-makings rare,
And junketings; but I shall not be there.

Yet gaily sing
Until the pewter ring
Those songs we sang when we went gipsying.

And lightly dance
Some triple-timed romance
In coupled figures, and forget mischance;

And mourn not me
Beneath the yellowing tree;
For I shall mind not, slumbering peacefully

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Thomas Hardy

‘Thomas Hardy’ (1840-1928) by Walter William Ouless (National Portrait Gallery) 

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Readers may find it interesting to compare and contrast the lyrics of the classic Edith Piaf song . . .

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6 thoughts on “Thomas Hardy – ‘Regret Not Me’

  1. What a treat Roland. This poem by Hardy, so full of life and of calm. The way he describes his youth “swift as light” , his middle years…” and junketing, but I shall not be there”. Until the quiet end and acceptance.
    Now, I thank you especially for the strong song with Edith Piaf. Wow, she knows how to belt out her beliefs. I feel energisesd
    Miriam

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  2. Great post to start the week Roland and love your pen and ink drawing, it has so much atmosphere. His last verse is so powerful, demonstrating how he was at peace with his life and what was to come.

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