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The Darkling trush I leant upon a coppice gate,  When Frost was spectre-gray,  And Winter's dregs made desolate  The weakening eye of day.  The tangled bine-stems scored the sky  Like strings of broken lyres,  And all mankind that haunted nigh  Had sought their household fires.  The land's sharp features seemed to me  The Century's corpse outleant,  Its crypt the cloudy canopy,  The wind its death-lament.  The ancient pulse of germ and birth  Was shrunken hard and dry,  And every spirit upon earth  Seemed fervorless as I.  At once a voice arose among  The bleak twigs overhead,  In a full-hearted evensong  Of joy illimited.  An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small,  With blast-beruffled plume,  Had chosen thus to fling his soul  Upon the growing gloom.  So little cause for carolings  Of such ecstatic sound  Was written on terrestrial things  Afar or nigh around,  That I could think there trembled through  His happy good-night air  Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew,  And I was unaware. by Thomas Hardy
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