Thomas Hardy

          Before Life And After

       A time there was — as one may guess
And as, indeed, earth's testimonies tell -
       Before the birth of consciousness,
              When all went well.

       None suffered sickness, love, or loss,
None knew regret, starved hope, or heart-burnings;
       None cared whatever crash or cross
              Brought wrack to things.

       If something ceased, no tongue bewailed,
If something winced and waned, no heart was wrung;
       If brightness dimmed, and dark prevailed,
              No sense was stung.

       But the disease of feeling germed,
And primal rightness took the tinct of wrong;
       Ere nescience shall be reaffirmed
              How long, how long?