Tabitha dressed for her wedding: -- "Tabby, why look so sad?" "-- O I feel a great gloominess spreading, spreading Instead of supremely glad!... "I called on Carry last night, And he came whilst I was there, Not knowing I'd called. So I kept out of sight And I heard what he said to her: "'--Ah, I'd far liefer marry You, Dear, to-morrow!' he said, 'But that cannot be.' -- O I'd give him to Carry. And willingly see them wed. "But how can I do it when His baby will soon be born? After that I hope I may die. And then She can have him. I shall not mourn!" -- Thomas Hardy
Why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?
This poem appears in Late Lyrics and Earlier, a collection Hardy put out in 1922 when he would have been 82 years old. He writes a comparatively lengthy preface to this collection, partially a defense of the assembly of miscellaneous pieces from much earlier alongside recent poems and partially a defense of his reputation — relevant here — for being a pessimist. This poem seems to me like it must be one of the earlier lyrics, given some of its awkward phrasing and its youthful tendency toward melodrama and a sort of sensationalism.