1917 | Dorchester

Genetics

Thomas Hardy carries on his family’s face.

I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
Over oblivion.

The family feature that can
In curve and voice and eye
Despise the human span
Of durance—that is I;
The eternal thing in man,
That heeds no call to die.

Contributor

Thomas Hardy

“Heredity.” The eldest of four children growing up in Dorset in the 1840s, Hardy apprenticed to a local architect in 1856 and worked as a draftsman in London in 1862. While visiting a church in Cornwall in 1870, he met and fell in love with his future wife, immortalized in his novel A Pair of Blue Eyes as well as in the poem “Beeny Cliff”: “O the opal and the sapphire of that wandering western sea,/And the woman riding high above with bright hair flapping free.” Hardy published Jude the Obscure in 1895.