Behold! I'm old; my hair is white; My eighty years are in the offing, And sitting by the fire to-night I sip a grog to ease my coughing. It's true I'm raucous as a rook, But feeling bibulously "bardy," These lines I'm scribbling in a book: The verse complete of Thomas Hardy.
Although to-day he's read by few, Him have I loved beyond all measure; So here to-night I riffle through His pages with the oldtime pleasure; And with this book upon my knee, (To-day so woefully neglected) I muse and think how soon I'll be Myself among the Great Rejected.
Yet as these lines with zest I write, Although the hour for me is tardy, I think: "Of all the world to-night 'Tis I alone am reading Hardy"; And now to me he seems so nigh I feel I commune with his spirit, And as none love him more than I, Thereby I gain a modest merit.
Oh Brother Thomas, glad I'll be, Though all the world may pass unheeding, If some greybeard con over me, As I to-night your rhymes are reading; Saying: "Old Bastard, you and I By sin are knit in mind and body. . . ." So ere to hit the hay I hie Your ghost I'll toast in midnight toddy.