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But the cliche pitches us into a Romantic frame only the more to make us feel the absence of it elsewhere.

The Romantic period had been dominated by an extraordinary set of poets - principally Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, Blake and Byron - whilst its achievements in the genre of prose fiction were distinctly more limited. But these poets, so omnipresent to the Victorians metaphorically, were in the more important literal sense totally lost to them. By November 1827, when the eighteen-year-old Tennyson went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, Wordsworth and Coleridge were changed, both as poets and as people, while Blake, Byron, Shelley and Keats were all dead- and in three cases out of four with a cruel prematurity.

Hence the unexpected role of a Dorset surgeon, F. L. NashWortham, in excising Hardy's heart from his body and storing it in a biscuit tin until it could be placed in a burial casket and interred in Emma's grave. In death, as in life, Hardy was fulsomely divided. Winter Words, Hardy's largely elegiac final volume of poetry, which he had been preparing for publication on his birthday, appeared on 2 October, posthumously. H. 1772-1857)' Hardy pays tribute to his grandmother, and the glimpse of a previous, Napoleonic, era which she gave him: She would dwell on such dead themes, not as one who remembers, But rather as one who sees.

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