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Thomas Hardy
1840 – 1928

A Christmas Ghost-Story
(Christmas-eve 1899)

South of the Line, inland far from Durban,
A mouldering soldier lies--- your countryman.
Awry and doubled up are his grey bones,
And on the breeze his puzzled phantom moans
Nightly to clear Canopus: "I would know
By whom and when the All-Earth-gladdening Law
Of Peace, brought in by that Man Crucified,
Was ruled to be inept, and set aside ?
And what of logic or truth appears
In tacking "Anno Domini" to the years ?
Near twenty-hundred liveried thus have hied,
But tarries yet the Cause for which He died."

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