The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood, by Thomas Hood


“Coming events cast their shadow before.”

I had a vision in the summer light —

Sorrow was in it, and my inward sight

Ached with sad images. The touch of tears

Gushed down my cheeks:— the figured woes of years

Casting their shadows across sunny hours.

Oh, there was nothing sorrowful in flowers

Wooing the glances of an April sun,

Or apple blossoms opening one by one

Their crimson bosoms — or the twittered words

And warbled sentences of merry birds; —

Or the small glitter and the humming wings

Of golden flies and many colored things —

Oh, these were nothing sad — nor to see Her,

Sitting beneath the comfortable stir

Of early leaves — casting the playful grace

Of moving shadows in so fair a face —

Nor in her brow serene — nor in the love

Of her mild eyes drinking the light above

With a long thirst — nor in her gentle smile —

Nor in her hand that shone blood-red the while

She raised it in the sun. All these were dear

To heart and eye — but an invisible fear

Shook in the trees and chilled upon the air,

And if one spot was laughing brightest — there

My soul most sank and darkened in despair! —

As if the shadows of a curtained room

Haunted me in the sun — as if the bloom

Of early flow’rets had no sweets for me,

Nor apple blossoms any blush to see —

As if the hour had brought too bright a day —

And little birds were all too gay! — too gay! —

As if the beauty of that Lovely One

Were all a fable. — Full before the sun

Stood Death and cast a shadow long before,

Like a dark pall enshrouding her all o’er,

Till eyes, and lips, and smiles, were all no more!

These impressive, if rather morbid, lines seem to have been hitherto overlooked by Hood’s editors, and are here collected for the first time.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55