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Going and Staying




The moving sun-shapes on the spray,

The sparkles where the brook was flowing,

Pink faces, plightings, moonlit May,

These were the things we wished would stay;

        But they were going.




Seasons of blankness as of snow,

The silent bleed of a world decaying,

The moan of multitudes in woe,

These were the things we wished would go;

        But they were staying.




Then we looked closelier at Time,

And saw his ghostly arms revolving

To sweep off woeful things with prime,

Things sinister with things sublime

        Alike dissolving.


Thomas Hardy



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