Letter: One year short

Sir: The final day of the 19th century was widely regarded as falling at the end of the year 1900. Thomas Hardy's poem "The Darkling Thrush" is significantly dated 31 December 1900. It links the closing century, the barren landscape and the poet's bitter loss of faith in the future:

The land's sharp features seemed

to be

The Century's corpse outleant,

His crypt the cloudy canopy,

The wind his death-lament.

SUE HOWLETT

Stretton, Rutland

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