Page 41 - catalogue 230117
P. 41
4. The Little Old Table.
From Late Lyrics and Early – published 1922.

Creak, little wood thing, creak,
When I touch you with elbow or knee;
That is the way you speak
Of one who gave you to me.

You, little table she brought -
Brought me with her own hand,
As she looked at me with a thought
That I did not understand.

- Whoever owns it anon,
And hears it, will never know,
What a history hangs upon
This creak from long ago.

This has been interpreted as being one of Hardy's many expressions of
remorse after the death of his first wife Emma in 1912. After the event he blamed
himself repeatedly for the shortcomings of their relationship. The passage of time
is marked by the burning down of the candle. Hardy looks back in old age,
reminded by the creaking of the table of Emma as he first knew her. To the modern
young man who has acquired the table in the smaller picture the creaking is merely
an irritant.
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