Quotes by Thomas Hardy
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.
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.
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?"
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate bars hang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go,
And so do I.
Like the British Constitution, she owes her success in practice to her inconsistencies in principle.
''A lover without indiscretion is no lover at all.'' Circumspection and devotion are a contradiction in terms.
To discover evil in a new friend is to most people only an additional experience
We two kept house, the Past and I,
The Past and I;
I tended while it hovered nigh,
Leaving me never alone.
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.
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.
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!
Good, but not religious-good.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Ah, no; the years, the years;
Down their carved names the raindrop plows.
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.
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.
You calculated how to be uncalculating, and are natural by art!
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.
Of course poets have morals and manners of their own, and custom is no argument with them.
This is the weather the shepherd shuns,
And so do I.
When I set out for Lyonnesse,
A hundred miles away,
The rime was on the spray,
And starlight lit my lonesomeness.
When false things are brought low,
And swift things have grown slow,
Feigning like froth shall go,
Faith be for aye.
Here by the baring bough
Raking up leaves,
Often I ponder how
Springtime deceives,—
I, an old woman now,
Raking up leaves.
Thomas Hardy's Biography
English poet and regional novelist‚ whose works depict the county "Wessex"‚ named after the ancient kingdom of Alfred the Great. Hardy's career as writer spanned over fifty years. His earliest books appeared when Anthony Trollope (1815-82) wrote his Palliser series‚ and he published poetry in the decade of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. Hardy's work reflected his stoical pessimism and sense of tragedy in human life.

Thomas Hardy's own life wasn't similar to his stories. He was born in the village of Higher Bockhampton‚ on the edge of Puddletown Heath. His father was a master mason and building contractor. With a certain pride the author once said‚ that although his ancestors never rose above the level of a master-mason‚ they never sunk below it. Hardy's mother‚ whose tastes included Latin poets and French romances‚ provided for his education. After schooling in Dorchester‚ Hardy was apprenticed to an architect. He worked in an office‚ which specialized in restoration of churches. In 1874 Hardy married Emma Lavinia Gifford‚ for whom he wrote 40 years later‚ after her death‚ a group of poems known as VETERIS VESTIGIAE FLAMMAE (Vestiges of an Old Flame).

At the age of 22 Hardy moved to London and started to write poems‚ which idealized the rural life. He was an assistant in the architectural firm of Arthur Blomfield‚ visited art galleries‚ attended evening classes in French at King's College‚ enjoyed Shakespeare and opera‚ and read works of Charles Darwin‚ Herbert Spencer‚ and John Stuart Mills‚ whose positivism influenced him deeply. In 1867 Hardy left London for the family home in Dorset‚ and resumed work briefly with Hicks in Dorchester. During this period of his life Hardy entered into a temporary engagement with Tryphena Sparks‚ a pretty and lively sixteen-year-old relative. Hardy continued his architectural career‚ but encouraged by Emma Lavinia Gifford‚ he started to consider literature as his "true vocation."

Hardy did not first find public for his poetry and the novelist George Meredith advised Hardy to write a novel. THE POOR MAN AND THE LADY‚ written in 1867‚ was rejected by many publishers and Hardy destroyed the manuscript. His first book that gained notice was FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (1874). After its success Hardy was convinced that he could earn his living by his pen. Devoting himself entirely to writing‚ Hardy produced a series of novels.

TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES (1891) came into conflict with Victorian morality. It explored the dark side of his family connections in Berkshire. In the story the poor villager girl Tess Durbeyfield is seduced by the wealthy Alec D'Uberville. She becomes pregnant but the child dies in infancy. Tess finds work as a dairymaid on a farm and falls in love with Angel Clare‚ a clergyman's son‚ who marries her. When Tess tells Angel about her past‚ he hypocritically deserts her. Tess becomes Alec's mistress. Angel returns from Brazil‚ repenting his harshness‚ but finds her living with Alec. Tess kills Alec in desperation‚ she is arrested and hanged.

Hardy's JUDE THE OBSCURE (1895) aroused even more controversy. The story dramatized the conflict between carnal and spiritual life‚ tracing Jude Fawley's life from his boyhood to his early death. Jude marries Arabella‚ but deserts her. He falls in love with his cousin‚ hypersensitive Sue Bridehead‚ who marries the decaying schoolmaster‚ Phillotson‚ in a masochist fit. Jude and Sue obtain divorces‚ but their life together deteriorates under the pressure of poverty and social disapproval. The eldest son of Jude and Arabella‚ a grotesque boy nicknamed 'Father Time'‚ kills their children and himself. Broken by the loss‚ Sue goes back to Phillotson‚ and Jude returns to Arabella. Soon thereafter Jude dies‚ and his last words are: "Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery‚ and life unto the bitter in soul?".

In 1896‚ disturbed by the public uproar over the unconventional subjects of two of his greatest novels‚ Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure‚ Hardy announced that he would never write fiction again. A bishop solemnly burnt the book‚ "probably in his despair at not being able to burn me"‚ Hardy noted. Hardy's marriage had also suffered from the public outrage - critics on both sides of the Atlantic abused the author as degenerate and called the work itself disgusting. In April‚ 1912‚ Hardy wrote:

By 1885 the Hardys had settled near Dorchester at Max Gate‚ a house designed by the author and built by his brother‚ Henry. With the exceptions of seasonal stays in London and occasional excursions abroad‚ his Bockhampton home‚ "a modest house‚ providing neither more nor less than the accommodation ... needed" (as Michael Millgate describes it in his biography of the author) was his home for the rest of his life.

After giving up the novel‚ Hardy brought out a first group of Wessex poems‚ some of which had been composed 30 years before. During the remainder of his life‚ Hardy continued to publish several collections of poems. "Hardy‚ in fact‚ was the ideal poet of a generation. He was the most passionate and the most learned of them all. He had the luck‚ singular in poets‚ of being able to achieve a competence other than by poetry and then devote the ending years of his life to his beloved verses." (Ford Madox Ford in The March of Literature‚ 1938) Hardy's gigantic panorama of the Napoleonic Wars‚ THE DYNASTS‚ composed between 1903 and 1908‚ was mostly in blank verse. Hardy succeeded on the death of his friend George Meredith to the presidency of the Society of Authors in 1909. King George V conferred on him the Order of Merit and he received in 1912 the gold medal of the Royal Society of Literature.

Hardy kept to his childless marriage with Emma Gifford although it was unhappy and he had - or he imagined he had - affairs with other women passing briefly through his life. Emma Hardy died in 1912 and in 1914 Hardy married his secretary‚ Florence Emily Dugdale‚ a woman in her 30's‚ almost 40 years younger than he. Their relationship had started from a fan letter she sent him.

From 1920 through 1927 Hardy concentrated on his autobiography‚ which was disguised as the work of Florence Hardy. It appeared in two volumes (1928 and 1930). Hardy's last book was HUMAN SHOWS‚ FAR PHANTASIES‚ SONGS AND TRIFLES (1925). WINTER WORDS IN VARIOUS MOODS AND METRES appeared posthumously in 1928.

Hardy died in Dorchester‚ Dorset‚ on January 11‚ 1928. Eva Dugtale washed his body and prepared it for burial. Hardy's ashes were cremated in Dorchester and buried with impressive ceremonies in the Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey. According to a literary anecdote his heart was to be buried in Stinsford‚ his birthplace. All went according to plan‚ until a cat belonging to the poet's sister snatched the heart off the kitchen‚ where it was temporarily kept‚ and disappeared into the woods with it.

Hardy bravely challenged many of the sexual and religious conventions of the Victorian age. The center of his novels was the rather desolate and history-freighted countryside around Dorchester. In the early 1860s‚ after the appearance Darwin's Origin of Species (1859)‚ Hardy's faith was still unshaken‚ but he soon adopted the mechanical-determinist view of universe's cruelty‚ reflected in the inevitably tragic and self-destructive fates of his characters. In his poems Hardy depicted rural life without sentimentality - his mood was often stoically hopeless. "Though he was a modern‚ even a revolutionary writer in his time‚ most of us read him now as a lyrical pastoralist. It may be a sign of the times that some of us take his books to bed‚ as if even his pessimistic vision was one that enabled us to sleep soundly." (Anatole Broyard in New York Times‚ May 12‚ 1982)
Some rights reserved Petri Liukkonen (author) & Ari Pesonen. Kuusankosken kaupunginkirjasto 2008