Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)

Mad Judy

Thomas Hardy

When the hamlet hailed a birth
Judy used to cry:
When she heard our christening mirth
She would kneel and sigh.
She was crazed, we knew, and we
Humoured her infirmity.

When the daughters and the sons
Gathered them to wed,
And we like-intending ones
Danced till dawn was red,
She would rock and mutter, “More
Comers to this stony shore!”

When old Headsman[1] Death laid hands
On a babe or twain[2],
She would feast, and by her brands[3]
Sing her songs again.
What she liked we let her do,
Judy was insane, we knew.

— 1901


  1. Executioner.
  2. Poetical form of “two.”
  3. Burning pieces of wood.

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To the extent possible under law, Thomas Hardy has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Mad Judy, except where otherwise noted.

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