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   They hail me as one living,
       But don't they know
   That I have died of late years,
       Untombed although?

   I am but a shape that stands here,
       A pulseless mould,
   A pale past picture, screening
       Ashes gone cold.

   Not at a minute's warning,
       Not in a loud hour,
   For me ceased Time's enchantments
       In hall and bower.

   There was no tragic transit,
       No catch of breath,
   When silent seasons inched me
       On to this death...

   -- A Troubadour-youth I rambled
       With Life for lyre,
   The beats of being raging
       In me like fire.

   But when I practised eyeing
       The goal of men,
   It iced me, and I perished
       A little then.

   When passed my friend, my kinsfolk,
       Through the Last Door,
   And left me standing bleakly,
       I died yet more;

   And when my Love's heart kindled
       In hate of me,
   Wherefore I knew not, died I
       One more degree.

   And if when I died fully
       I cannot say,
   And changed into the corpse-thing
       I am to-day,

   Yet is it that, though whiling
       The time somehow
   In walking, talking, smiling,
       I live not now.
- Thomas Hardy

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