There's more to Thomas Hardy than rustic tales of yokels leaning on coppice gates or squires and maids lounging in shady gardens as this hard-hitting 4-liner written in the poet's 84th year demonstrates.
The poem could almost have been written yesterday.
'Peace upon earth!' was said. We sing it,
And pay a million priests to bring it.
After two thousand years of mass
We've got as far as poison-gas.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)