English Poem “Meditation on a Bone:” of poet Alec Derwent Hope complete poem with summery for Students.

Meditation on a Bone:

Alec Derwent Hope

A piece of bone, found at Trondhjem in 1901, with the following runic inscription (about A.D. 1050) cut on it: I loved her as a maiden; I will not trouble Erlend’s detestable wife; better she should be a widow.

Words scored upon a bone,

Scratched in despair or rage —

Nine hundred years have gone;

Now, in another age,

They burn with passion on

A scholar’s tranquil page.

The scholar takes his pen

And turns the bone about,

And writes those words again.

Once more they seethe and shout

And through a human brain

Undying hate rings out.

I loved her when a maid;

I loathe and love the wife

That warms another’s bed:

Let him beware his life!

The scholar’s hand is stayed;

His pen becomes a knife

To grave in living bone

The fierce archaic cry.

He sits and reads his own

Dull sum of misery.

A thousand years have flown

Before that ink is dry.

And, in a foreign tongue,

A man, who is not he,

Reads and his heart is wrung

This ancient grief to see,

And thinks: When I am dung,

What bone shall speak for me?”

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