By the Earth's Corpse

by Thomas Hardy

I "O Lord, why grievest Thou? - Since Life has ceased to be Upon this globe, now cold As lunar land and sea, And humankind, and fowl, and fur Are gone eternally, All is the same to Thee as ere They knew mortality." II "O Time," replied the Lord, "Thou read'st me ill, I ween; Were all THE SAME, I should not grieve At that late earthly scene, Now blestly past--though planned by me With interest close and keen! - Nay, nay: things now are NOT the same As they have earlier been. III "Written indelibly On my eternal mind Are all the wrongs endured By Earth's poor patient kind, Which my too oft unconscious hand Let enter undesigned. No god can cancel deeds foredone, Or thy old coils unwind! IV "As when, in Noe's days, I whelmed the plains with sea, So at this last, when flesh And herb but fossils be, And, all extinct, their piteous dust Revolves obliviously, That I made Earth, and life, and man, It still repenteth me!"