The Clock of the Years

by Gerald Finzi From Earth and Air and Rain (1935) Op. 15

If you would like to use our texts and translations, please click here for more information.


The Clock of the Years
English source: Thomas Hardy

‘A spirit passed before my face: the hair of my flesh stood up.’

And the spirit said,
‘I can make the clock of the years go backward,
But am loth to stop it where you will.’
And I cried, ‘Agreed
To that. Proceed:
It’s better than dead!’

He answered, ‘Peace;’
And called her up—as last before me;
Then younger, younger she grew, to the year
I first had known
Her women-grown
And I cried, ‘Cease!—

‘Thus far is good—
It is enough—let her stay thus always!’
But alas for me—He shook his head:
No stop was there;
And she waned child-fair,
And to babyhood.

Still less in mien
To my great sorrow became she slowly,
And smalled till she was nought at all
In his checkless griff;
And it was as if
She had never been.

‘Better,’ I plained,
‘She were dead as before! The memory of her
Had lived in me; but it cannot now!’
And coldly his voice:
‘It was your choice
To mar the ordained.’


Gerald Finzi

Gerald Raphael Finzi was a British composer. He is best known as a choral composer, but also wrote in other genres.


Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth. He was highly…

Help us with a Donation

Enjoying our texts and translations? Help us continue to offer this service to all.

Make a Donation

Select Tickets