Two Thomas Hardy Poems

Gavin Ewart

1. Marty South’s Letter to Edred Fitzpiers

(Thomas Hardy: The Woodlanders, end of Chapter XXXIV)

Deer Mister Fitzpiers

A’m writen to thee now to tell thee
what may lie heavy on thy belly!

Yon hiair that Barber Percomb took
that wer my hiair, by t’Holy Book,
a zold it to’m – an’ all to deck
proud Mistress Charmond’s hiead an’ neck!

Zo what thou stroak’st in’t hers but mine,
zo pirty, vrom a maid divine
it might a’ come! A girt injustice
’tis now to me, vor wheer they lust is
theer might a’ been some love o’ me!

Zigned: Marty South, o’ low degree.

2. The Allotment of Sex in ‘The Woodlanders’ by Thomas Hardy

Mrs Charmond has an awful lot.
So does Suke Damson (she’s right on the spot)
and when she finally marries Timothy Tangs
he too has a few bangs.
Edred Fitzpiers, like Mrs C, is another big sexpot,
he rogers Grace Melbury as often as not
(after he’s married her, naturally and of course);
he rides about lecherously on a horse
and has a long affair with Felice (Mrs Charmond),
who has Italian Pre-Raphaelite eyes shaped like an almond.

But as for poor little Marty South,
she has every reason to feel down in the mouth.
Just like noble Giles Winterbourne (who isn’t a toff)
she never seems able to have it away, or off.
No one makes an offer to seduce or deprave.
All she can do is put flowers on his grave!