It’s no secret that I love Thomas Hardy. My favorite poem remains his Neutral Tones, which I memorized in high school and have never forgotten. But, Hardy’s verse doesn’t end in his poems. Readers of his other works would be hard pressed not to find beautiful, lyrical passages there as well. For example, this, taken from Tess of the d’Urbervilles, on a woman’s past being brought to light:
“The figure near at hand suffers on such occasion, because it shows up its sorriness without shade; while vague figures afar off are honoured, in that their distance makes artistic virtues of their stains.”
So simple, yet so elegant. Hardy was always on point in observing everyday life. Perhaps that, coupled with his beautiful use of language, is why his work has endured for so long.