by Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928)

Only a man harrowing clods
Language: English 
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-grass1;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight2
Come whispering by:
War's annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
First published in Saturday Review, January, 1916
1 couch-grass: a type of weed.
2 wight: man.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Dezső Kosztolányi) , "Amikor a háború kitört"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 12
Word count: 62