Said he: "You saw the Master clear; By Rushy Pond alone he sat, Serene and silent as a seer, in tweedy coat and seedy hat. you tell me you did not intrude, (Although his book was in your hand,) Upon his melancholy mood . . . I do not understand.
"You did not tell him: 'I have come From o'er the sea to speak to you.' You did not dare, your lips were dumb . . . You thought a little zephyr blew From Rushy Pond a touch of him You'll cherish to your dying day, Perhaps with tears your eyes were dim . . . And then - you went away.
"And down the years you will proclaim: 'O call me dullard, dub me dunce! But let this be my meed of fame: I looked on Thomas Hardy once. Aye, by a stile I stood a span And with these eyes did plainly see A little, shrinking, shabby man . . . But Oh a god to me!'"
Said I: "'Tis true, I scarce dared look, yet he would have been kind, I'm sure; But though I clutched his precious book I feared to beg his signature. Ah yes, my friend, I merit mirth. You're bold, you have the right to laugh, And if Christ came again to earth You'd cadge his autograph."