Thomas Hardy Quotes

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About Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy OM (June 2 1840 – January 11 1928) was an English novelist, short story writer and poet.

Born: June 2nd, 1840

Died: January 11th, 1928

Categories: English novelists, English poets, English short story writers, 1920s deaths

Quotes: 81 sourced quotes total (includes 1 misattributed, 1 about)

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A star looks down at me, And says: "Here I and you Stand each in our degree: What do you mean to do,— Mean to do?"
"How can I pray for you," she said, "when I am forbidden to believe that the great Power who moves the world would alter His plans on my account?"
When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay, And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings, Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say, "He was a man who used to notice such things"?
"Ah," she said to herself, "want of an object to live for—that's all is the matter with me!"
Yes; quaint and curious war is! You shoot a fellow down You'd treat if met where any bar is, Or help to half-a-crown.
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.
It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.
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 carolings 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 blessed Hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware.
Moreover she, and Clare also, stood as yet on the debatable land between predilection and love; where no profundities have been reached; no reflections have set in, awkwardly inquiring, "Whither does this new current tend to carry me? What does it mean to my future? How does it stand towards my past?"
Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me, Saying that now you are not as you were When you had changed from the one who was all to me, But as at first, when our day was fair.
In a solitude of the sea Deep from human vanity, And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.
Done because we are too menny.
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.
I am the family face; Flesh perishes, I live on, Projecting trait and trace Through time to times anon, And leaping from place to place Over oblivion.
The value of old age depends upon the person who reaches it. To some men of early performance it is useless. To others, who are late to develop, it just enables them to finish the job.
Thomas Hardy
• Quoted in The Later Years of Thomas Hardy (1930), by Florence Emily Hardy, ch. 17, p. 212
• Source: Wikiquote: "Thomas Hardy" (Quotes)
Patience, that blending of moral courage with physical timidity.
I seem but a dead man held on end To sink down soon.... O you could not know That such swift fleeing No soul foreseeing — Not even I — would undo me so!
Do not do an immoral thing for moral reasons!
The main object of religion is not to get a man into heaven, but to get heaven into him.
Misattributed to Thomas Hardy
• This quote can be traced to two authors, in books published within the same year:

1) Rev. Edward John Hardy, known as E.J. Hardy (1849-1920), How to Be Happy Though Civil: A Book on Manners (New York, Scribners, 1909), ch. VI: A Christian Gentleman;
2) John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, Peace and Happiness (Macmillan, 1909), ch. XV: Religion
• Source: Wikiquote: "Thomas Hardy" (Misattributed)

But nobody did come, because nobody does; and under the crushing recognition of his gigantic error Jude continued to wish himself out of the world.
Above the plain rose the hill, above the hill rose the barrow, and above the barrow rose the figure. Above the figure was nothing that could be mapped elsewhere than on a celestial globe.
If all hearts were open and all desires known — as they would be if people showed their souls — how many gapings, sighings, clenched fists, knotted brows, broad grins, and red eyes should we see in the market-place!
Thomas Hardy
• Diary entry (18 August 1908), quoted in The Later Years of Thomas Hardy (1930), by Florence Emily Hardy, ch. 10, p. 133
• Source: Wikiquote: "Thomas Hardy" (Quotes)
She had no fear of the shadows; her sole idea seemed to be to shun mankind — or rather that cold accretion called the world, which, so terrible in the mass, is so unformidable, even pitiable, in its units.
Or, to state his character as it stood in the scale of public opinion, when his friends and critics were in tantrums, he was considered rather a bad man; when they were pleased, he was rather a good man; when they were neither, he was a man whose moral colour was a kind of pepper-and-salt mixture.
To find themselves utterly alone at night where company is desirable and expected makes some people fearful; but a case more trying by far to the nerves is to discover some mysterious companionship when intuition, sensation, memory, analogy, testimony, probability, induction — every kind of evidence in the logician's list — have united to persuade consciousness that it is quite in isolation.
So the baby was carried in a small deal box, under an ancient woman's shawl, to the churchyard that night, and buried by lantern-light, at the cost of a shilling and a pint of beer to the sexton, in that shabby corner of God's allotment where He lets the nettles grow, and where all unbaptized infants, notorious drunkards, suicides, and others of the conjecturally damned are laid.
'Twas a little one-eyed, blinking sort o' place.
Like the British Constitution, she owes her success in practice to her inconsistencies in principle.
Of course poets have morals and manners of their own, and custom is no argument with them.
When I set out for Lyonnesse, A hundred miles away, The rime was on the spray, And starlight lit my lonesomeness.
The sovereign brilliancy of Sirius pierced the eye with a steely glitter, the star called Capella was yellow, Aldebaran and Betelgueux shone with a fiery red. To persons standing alone on a hill during a clear midnight such as this, the roll of the world eastward is almost a palpable movement.
To dwell on a heath without studying its meanings was like wedding a foreigner without learning his tongue. The subtle beauties of the heath were lost to Eustacia; she only caught its vapours. An environment which would have made a contented woman a poet, a suffering woman a devotee, a pious woman a psalmist, even a giddy woman thoughtful, made a rebellious woman saturnine.
This is the weather the shepherd shuns, And so do I.
Ah, no; the years, the years; Down their carved names the raindrop plows.
My argument is that War makes rattling good history; but Peace is poor reading.
Why doth IT so and so, and ever so, This viewless, voiceless Turner of the Wheel?
A lover without indiscretion is no lover at all. Circumspection and devotion are a contradiction in terms.
When false things are brought low, And swift things have grown slow, Feigning like froth shall go, Faith be for aye.
And meadow rivulets overflow, And drops on gate bars hang in a row, And rooks in families homeward go, And so do I.
Overhead the hollow stretch of whitish cloud shutting out the sky was as a tent which had the whole heath for its floor.
That night your great guns, unawares, Shook all our coffins as we lay, And broke the chancel window-squares, We thought it was the Judgement Day.
The place became full of a watchful intentness now; for when other things sank blooding to sleep the heath appeared slowly to awake and listen.
Love is a possible strength, in an actual weakness. Marriage transforms a distraction into a support, the power of which should be, and happily often is, in direct proportion to the degree of imbecility it supplants.
Sometimes a woman's love of being loved gets the better of her conscience, and though she is agonized at the thought of treating a man cruelly, she encourages him to love her while she doesn't love him at all. Then, when she sees him suffering, her remorse sets in, and she does what she can to repair the wrong.
It was at present a place perfectly accordant with man's nature—neither ghastly, hateful, nor ugly; neither commonplace, unmeaning, nor tame; but, like man, slighted and enduring; and withal singularly colossal and mysterious in its swarthy monotony. As with some persons who have long lived apart, solitude seemed to look out of its countenance. It had a lonely face, suggesting tragical possibilities.
And as the smart ship grew In stature, grace, and hue, In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.Alien they seemed to be; No mortal eye could see The intimate welding of their later history,Or sign that they were bent By paths coincident On being anon twin halves of one august event,Till the Spinner of the Years Said "Now!" And each one hears, And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.
"Justice" was done, and the President of the Immortals (in Aeschylean phrase) had ended his sport with Tess. And the d'Urberville knights and dames slept on in their tombs unknowing. The two speechless gazers bent themselves down to the earth, as if in prayer, and remained thus a long time, absolutely motionless: the flag continued to wave silently. As soon as they had strength, they arose, joined hands again, and went on.
Good, but not religious-good.
A nice unparticular man.
All that blooth means heavy autumn work for him and his hands.
How bewitched I was! How could there be any good in a woman that everybody spoke ill of?
There's reason for ghastliness. Eustacia, you have held my happiness in the hollow of your hand, and like a devil you have dashed it down!
William Dewy, Tranter Reuben, Farmer Ledlow late at plough, Robert's kin, and John's, and Ned's, And the Squire, and Lady Susan, lie in Mellstock churchyard now!
When that half-burnt log and those cinders were alight she was alive! Little has been changed here yet. I can do nothing. My life creeps like a snail.
Their lives were ruined, he thought; ruined by the fundamental error of their matrimonial union: that of having based a permanent contract on a temporary feeling which had no necessary connection with affinities that alone render a lifelong comradeship tolerable.
To dwellers in a wood almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature. At the passing of the breeze the fir-trees sob and moan no less distinctly than they rock; the holly whistles as it battles with itself; the ash hisses amid its quiverings; the beech rustles while its flat boughs rise and fall.
Only a man harrowing clods In a slow silent walk With an old horse that stumbles and nods Half asleep as they stalk.Only thin smoke without flame From the heaps of couch-grass; Yet this will go onward the same Though Dynasties pass.Yonder a maid and her wight Come whispering by: War's annals will cloud into night Ere their story die.
The great inviolate place had an ancient permanence which the sea cannot claim. Who can say of a particular sea that it is old? Distilled by the sun, kneaded by the moon, it is renewed in a year, in a day, or in an hour. The sea changed, the fields changed, the rivers, the villages, and the people changed, yet Egdon remained.
The rural world was not ripe for him. A man should be only partially before his time—to be completely to the vanward in aspirations is fatal to fame. Had Philip's warlike son been intellectually so far ahead as to have attempted civilization without bloodshed, he would have been twice the godlike hero that he seemed, but nobody would have heard of an Alexander.
A well proportioned mind is one which shows no particular bias; one of which we may safely say that it will never cause its owner to be confined as a madman, tortured as a heretic, or crucified as a blasphemer. Also, on the other hand, that it will never cause him to be applauded as a prophet, revered as a priest, or exalted as a king. Its usual blessings are happiness and mediocrity.
In fact, precisely at this transitional point of its nightly roll into darkness the great and particular glory of the Egdon waste began, and nobody could be said to understand the heath who had not been there at such a time. It could best be felt when it could not clearly be seen, its complete effect and explanation lying in this and the succeeding hours before the next dawn; then, and only then, did it tell its true tale.
The heath and changes of weather were quite blotted out from their eyes for the present. They were enclosed in a sort of luminous mist, which hid from them surroundings of any inharmonious colour, and gave to all things the character of light. When it rained they were charmed, because they could remain indoors together all day with such a show of reason; when it was fine they were charmed, because they could sit together on the hills. They were like those double stars which revolve round and round each other, and from a distance appear to be one.
A local cult, called Christianity.
Aggressive Fancy working spells Upon a mind o’erwrought.
Work hard and be poor, do nothing and get more.
You calculated how to be uncalculating, and are natural by art!
To find beauty in ugliness is the province of the poet.
Thomas Hardy
• Statement (5 August 1888), as quoted in The life of Thomas Hardy 1840-1928 (1962) by Florence Emily Hardy
• Source: Wikiquote: "Thomas Hardy" (Quotes)
Ere systemed suns were globed and lit The slaughters of the race were writ.
To discover evil in a new friend is to most people only an additional experience
What of the Immanent Will and Its designs? It works unconsciously, as heretofore, Eternal artistries in Circumstance.
Here by the baring bough Raking up leaves, Often I ponder how Springtime deceives,— I, an old woman now, Raking up leaves.
We two kept house, the Past and I, The Past and I; I tended while it hovered nigh, Leaving me never alone.
The Earth, say'st thou? The Human race? By Me created? Sad its lot? Nay: I have no remembrance of such place: Such world I fashioned not.
Considering his position he became wonderfully free from the chronic melancholy which is taking hold of the civilized races with the decline of belief in a beneficent Power.
I have seldom known a man cunning with his brush who was not simple with his tongue; or, indeed, any skill in particular that was not allied to general stupidity.
But oh yes, dear Louis, she [Tess] is vile. The pretence of 'sexuality' is only equalled by the absence of it, and the abomination of the language by the author's reputation for style.
About Thomas Hardy
• Henry James, Letter to R.L. Stevenson, 17 February 1893, in Thomas Hardy: The Critical Heritage, ed. R.G. Cox (1995)
• Source: Wikiquote: "Thomas Hardy" (Quotes about Hardy)
With all, the beautiful things of the earth become more dear as they elude pursuit; but with some natures utter elusion is the one special event which will make a passing love permanent for ever.
Whence comes solace? Not from seeing, What is doing, suffering, being; Not from noting Life’s conditions, Not from heeding Time’s monitions; But in cleaving to the Dream And in gazing at the Gleam Whereby gray things golden seem.
What of the faith and fire within us Men who march away Ere the barn-cocks say Night is growing gray, To hazards whence no tears can win us; What of the faith and fire within us Men who march away!
[Of a wedding:] And so, standing before the aforesaid officiator, the two swore that at every other time of their lives till death took them, they would assuredly believe, feel, and desire precisely as they had believed, felt, and desired during the few preceding weeks. What was as remarkable as the undertaking itself was the fact that nobody seemed at all surprised at what they swore.
They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest Uncoffined — just as found: His landmark is a kopje-crest That breaks the veldt around; And foreign constellations west Each night above his mound.Young Hodge the Drummer never knew — Fresh from his Wessex home — The meaning of the broad Karoo, The Bush, the dusty loam, And why uprose to nightly view Strange stars amid the gloam.Yet portion of that unknown plain Will Hodge forever be; His homely Northern breast and brain Grow to some Southern tree, And strange-eyed constellations reign His stars eternally.

End Thomas Hardy Quotes