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Reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles with a Mythological Gaze - a Fallen Nature Goddess

Updated: Apr 24, 2022

I was named after this book, but I had never wished to read it – I was frightened in truth by the tragedy of her story. This year I felt drawn to read the book and see if I could salvage some hope or meaning from the despair of her life. This very mythological story brought up many feelings for me about the importance of learning about the stories we inherit from our ancestors and society and whether we wish to hold onto them, re-shape them or let them go. The mystical and philosophical story was written in the time of patriarchy and in reading the tale I sensed the “sport” of the “President of the Immortals” as Tess was slowly destroyed – interestingly the quote was taken by Hardy from Prometheus Bound, by Aeschylus – an Ancient Greek tragedy and Hardy made many references to mythology in this story. It is nothing new for us to see the divine feminine fall and in centuries past we have seen the destruction of the goddess temples, when priestesses were humiliated and judged for devilry. The story takes us on our path deep into the sacred landscape of Wessex, Dorset and Wiltshire – a land of giants, old tracks, boundary stones and the magnetic "hum" of Stonehenge.


(Spoiler alert.) And yet despite the destruction of Tess at the end of the story, the goddess can find a way to live on and it is clear that the love between Tess and Angel is eternal and enduring, despite the trials and tribulations of life. One of my favourite things to do is to see artwork, film or literature with a mythological gaze - to read the messages of the earth, to feel what the landscape is trying to speak through the characters and what the stones and earth energy wishes to communicate - I have hoped to do this here and if you picked on anything from this novel I would love to hear your comments.


'Tess of the DUrbervilles or The Elopement' by William Hatherell


Upon finishing the book, I fell into a sadness and cried for Tess having felt the pain of the strange absurdity of her tragedy – the fall of a goddess. Her story is essentially one of downfall. She descended from a rich Norman family, the d’Urbervilles, who lost their wealth and became known as the Durbeyfields – there is something dark about the family and it seems that she inherited their woe. On her father’s unpaid-for gravestone it was written:

“In memory of John Durbeyfield, rightly d’Urberville, of the once powerful family of that Name, and Direct Descendant through an Illustrious Line from Sir Pagan d’Urberville, one of the Knights of the Conqueror. Died March 10th 18-

HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN.”


After the father died, the family lost their home and a cart left their furniture at a new village - they were forced to sleep in the d’Urberville wealthy vault in the graveyard and we can see this tragic contrast between the generations. Although Tess was aware of the power of story, she did not have the insight to know how to change this for herself – in the following passage she reflected with her love interest, Angel Clare, about history:

“Because what’s the use of learning that I am one of a long row only – finding out that there is set down in some old book somebody just like me, and to know that I shall only act her part; making me sad, that’s all. The best is not to remember that your nature and your past doings have been just like thousands’ and thousands’, and that your coming life and doings’ll be like thousands’ and thousands’.’


Ancestral Stories

Rama Kundu reflected on the theme of ancestral sin when reflecting on the rape incident in his essay ‘To name the unnamable’: Thomas Hardy’s Use of Classical Myths in Tess:’

“The motifs of ancestral sin and cursed house, so common in the Hellenic myths, also get woven into the plot. As Tess is undone in the primitive wood Hardy makes a series of anguished utterances of pained bewilderment, – as to why this had to happen. One of the possible logics that could be cited, he admits, was that of ancestral sin; One may, indeed, admit the possibility of a retribution lurking in the present catastrophe. Doubtless some of Tess d’Urberville’s mailed ancestors licking home from a fray had dealt the same measure even more ruthlessly towards peasant girls of their time. But he himself would dismiss its validity. “But though to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children may be a morality good enough for divinities, it … does not mend the matter””


Tess was reluctant to tell this story to her lover, Angel Clare before they married and it was only after they were married that she gained the strength to reveal the truth after Angel had admitted that he had already been with a woman in the past and for which he was forgiven. Angel was abhorred to hear that Tess was not a maid and he could no longer see her in the same light.


The couple separated with Angel disappearing to find farming land in Brazil with faint promises that perhaps they could reunite in time. Tess underwent a period of extreme difficulty and found that with family financial challenges she was unable to survive on her husband’s contributions alone and was forced to find work on a farm. Along the way she encountered many difficulties and whereas at first she found her past abhorrent, she began to build compassion for herself until finally she realised that the way Angel had treated her was unfair.

Tess flung herself upon the undergrowth of rustling spear-grass as upon a bed by E. Borough Johnson.


One night, she was forced to sleep outside in a nest of leaves and saw the terrible sight of pheasant birds which had been shot by a shooting party and had hidden in the bushes together, slowly dying from their wounds having not yet been found by the hounds. Seeing their terrible suffering she aided them by pulling their necks to hasten the death and was taught a lesson by life about the depths of suffering which can affect all beings:

“‘Poor darlings – to suppose myself the most miserable being on earth in the sight o’ such misery as yours!’ she exclaimed, her tears running down as she killed the birds tenderly.”


In modern times we have the opportunity to re-write these stories to bring healing for these archetypal energies which we may still carry within us. We can envision Tess and her mother Joan not being evicted after the father passed away but instead being supported by the community and not facing any discrimination for the injustice that Tess had experienced - justice was sought for Tess instead - her friends felt inspired by her love with Angel and instead of feeling jealous they felt inspired to recognise their own wholeness and be their own true loves. Around Tess they remembered their divinity and felt equal to all beings and part of something huge and beautiful - they did not put Tess on a pedestal, but recognised how amazing they also were and just as Tess empowered them, they then empowered others as they discovered their own gifts. We can envision Tess and Joan wishing to move on from the village and starting again at Kingsbere and not manifesting a homeless situation for themselves. They find a beautiful cottage to live in and are encouraged for their spiritual gifts and give healing in the village and live with independence and autonomy - they remember their worthiness and are guided by the divine and following their true path. Tess eventually has enough income to manifest her own beautiful home - she re-discovers her sense of humour and relaxes completely. Angel returns to Tess as her equal, not as a 'rescuer.'


Tess as a Nature Goddess Archetype

Hardy’s book is a beautiful philosophical contemplation and includes many insightful passages about the interconnectedness of life – it is clear that he was writing in an age where Christianity held the sway yet in his subtle ways he spoke up for the lost pagan and goddess cultures and their understanding of nature. There are many essays written about Tess as a nature goddess, yet the examples here were notes I made while reading the book from my feelings in regards to the theme. In the story, the mother of Tess used a fortune-telling book at the beginning of the tale and later, Tess and the women of the village gathered for the May-Day dance in a village called Marlott which still upheld the culture of Cerealia or Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, fertility and motherhood:

“In men’s clubs such celebrations were, though expiring, less uncommon; but either the natural shyness of the softer sex, or a sarcastic attitude on the part of male relatives, had denuded such women’s clubs as remained (if any other did) of this their glory and consummation. The club of Marlott alone lived to uphold the local Cerealia. It had walked for hundreds of years, if not as benefit-club, as votive sisterhood of some sort; and it walked still.”

Tess at the May-Day dance in Roman Polanski's film 'Tess.'


In their beautiful book about earth energies, The Sun and the Serpent, Paul Broadhurst and Hamish Miller wrote: "Beltane (May Day) and Llughnasad (Lammas) were the high spots of the ancient world, when beacon fires were kindled on the hills and people across the land celebrated the return of Bel, the Sun God, with his power to fertilize the land with the energizing vitality of spring, and later thanked him and his consort, the Earth Goddess, for their bountiful harvest. On these occasions, around which the whole year revolved, wild orgiastic festivities took place at the old sacred places, not out of the crude licentious lust reviled by Victorian vicars, but rather as an act of sympathetic magic to draw the fructifying cosmic energies into the Earth."


At a later passage describing a dance in a hay barn, Hardy added:

“It was then that the ecstasy and the dream began, in which emotion was the matter of the universe, and matter but an adventitious intrusion likely to hinder you from spinning where you wanted to spin.”


Agatha Thornycroft, wife of sculptor Hamo Thornycroft was described by Hardy as “the most beautiful woman in England” and had inspired his conceptions of Tess. Photos from https://www.bellahamblin.com/


Tess carried a dark story with her of rape at the hands of her so-called rich cousin, Alec d’Urberville whose family had bought the name – and she met them after her family had reached the depths of poverty. After Tess was raped, she returned to this village where she spent her days in solitude, avoiding company and tried to find peace with her sense of ill-placed guilt and returned to her wholeness in nature:


“The only exercise that Tess took at this time was after dark; and it was then, when out in the woods, that she seemed least solitary…She had no fear of the shadows; her sole idea seemed to be to shun mankind – or rather that cold accretion called the world, which, so terrible in the mass, is so unformidable, even pitiable, in its units…At times her whimsical fancy would intensify natural processes around her till they seemed a part of her own story. Rather they became a part of it; for the world is only a psychological phenomenon, and what they seemed they were….She had been made to break an accepted social law, but no law known to the environment in which fancied herself such an anomaly.”


Here we see how Tess was forced to adopt stories and conditioning about her incident instead of seeing that nature, or the goddess, held no such standards against her. It was through her long journey of suffering that she began to come back into accord with the earth and her heart, with its unconditional love and compassion. It is through our thoughts that we can create stories about ourselves which do not serve our highest capacity and Hardy described this beautifully:

“But this encompassment of her own characterization, based on shreds of convention, peopled by phantoms and voices antipathetic to her, was a sorry and mistaken creation of Tess’s fancy – a cloud of moral hobgoblins by which she was terrified without reason. It was they that were out of harmony with the actual world, not she.”


Tess became pregnant after the rape, yet the baby known as Sorrow, did not survive – getting sick in the night, Tess was forced to perform a baptism for the child and her siblings looked up at her with great reverence. The following day she asked the vicar for a Christian burial and he felt moved by the dignity of Tess:

“The man and the ecclesiastic fought within him, and the victory fell to the man.” The baby was buried by Tess in a corner of the churchyard with the other unbaptized infants and suicides and Tess left some flowers in a marmalade jar there. Again, we see the injustices of this society when even an innocent child should suffer from judgement.


Nature and Transformation

Finally gaining some spirit, Tess took to the road, realising that it “was impossible that any event should have left upon her an impression that was not in time capable of transmutation.” Singing ballads along the way, she headed over the valley. I sensed here a beautiful theme which carries throughout the book and we often see Tess walking along the old tracks, passing boundary stones and eventually ending up at the sacred site of Stonehenge. Here Hardy shared some of his views about the pagan ways of the land, calling them ‘half-unconscious’ although his tones seemed open-minded and not derogatory and perhaps a cry for a more holistic view than the very institutionalized religion of the time would allow; speaking of her rhapsody he called it a ‘fetichistic utterance’ (meaning Pantheistic) in a ‘Monotheistic setting’ and added:

“women whose chief companions are the forms and forces of outdoor Nature retain in their souls far more of the Pagan fantasy of their remote forefathers than of the systematized religion taught their race at later date.”

"Tess stood still, and turned to look behind her" by Joseph Syddall, depicting a scene with Tess and Alec d'Urberville.


Greek Mythology

Tess left Marlott and her story reached its height at Talbothays Dairy where she worked and began to fall in love with Angel Clare, the son of a parson, who was learning to become a farmer there. Angel played the harp and was educated in books and history and loved the ‘pagan pleasure in natural life’:

“Once upon a time Angel had been so unlucky as to say to his father, in a moment of irritation, that it might have resulted far better for mankind if Greece had been the source of the religion of modern civilization, and not Palestine.”


In fact, Hardy used many mythological references throughout the novel – in his essay, Rama Kundu wrote:

“It is indeed fascinating to see how the various myths of Artemis, Persephone, Europa, Demeter, Niobe, Daphne, Iphigenia, Eurydice, Penelope, Cybele, Ceres, Lotis, Eve, as well as Pluto, Priapus, Mephistopheles, Antinous, Apollo, Orpheus, Odysseus– in addition to the myths of kinship, cursed house, ancestral sin – have been evoked in a rich interwoven and layered pattern.”


It is described that Angel enjoyed his time with the “Talbothays nymphs and swains” and began spending more time with Tess whom he called his ‘Artemis, Demeter,’ thinking of her as a ‘fresh and virginal daughter of nature’ and Hardy described her as the 'Magdalen' at his side. Demeter was the Greek goddess of harvest and agriculture and concerned with the fertility of the earth; Artemis was the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, the moon, chastity and wild animals. Angel’s time outdoors amidst such a setting was certainly beneficial for his soul:

“He grew away from old associations, and saw something new in life and humanity. Secondarily, he made close acquaintance with phenomena which he had before known but darkly – the seasons in their moods, morning and evening, night and noon, winds in their different tempers, trees, waters and mists, shades and silences, and the voices of inanimate things.”

"What makes you draw off in that way, Tess?" by E. Borough Johnson (depicting the scene between Tess and Angel where she is discovered listening to him play the harp and is embarrassed.)


Tess and Angel married alone without any family there – his middle-class family did not entirely approve of his marriage to a working-class milk-maid although they did not cause disagreements; yet his brothers abandoned him completely, holding steadfast to their snobbery. Yet the love Angel and Tess shared for each other was divine:

“The wisdom of her love for him, as love, sustained her dignity; she seemed to be wearing a crown. The compassion of his love for her, as she saw it, made her lit up her heart to him in devotion. He would sometimes catch her large, worshipful eyes, that had no bottom to them, looking at him from their depths, as if she saw something immortal before her.”


He was described as her ‘Apollo’ – a Roman and Greek god of music, poetry, truth, archery and healing who was also associated with the lyre, a small Greek harp and with cattle, just as Angel was at the dairy.

From Roman Polanski's film 'Tess.'


After the confession and separation of the lovers, Tess needed to find work yet she was reluctant to return to Talbothays since she felt that she would not be able to stand their pity – unknown to her, a milkmaid called Izz already knew directly from Angel of the separation and yet Tess felt sensitive that perhaps they knew something:

“It was the interchange of ideas about her that made her sensitiveness wince. Tess could not account for this distinction; she simply knew that she felt it.”


The theme of Tess as a nature goddess archetype, walking along the old tracks and Roman roads of Wessex stayed in my mind and was reinforced by these words as she headed along the valleys to find some work:

“Thus Tess walks on; a figure which is part of the landscape; a fieldwoman pure and simple, in winter guise; a gray serge cape, a red woollen cravat, a stuff skirt covered by a whitey-brown rough wrapper, and buff-leather gloves.”


'The Flower Girl' by John Anster Fitzgerald


The landscape around her of ‘irregular chalk table-land or plateau, bosomed with semi-globular tumuli’ was referred to, by Hardy, as Cybele, the Phrygian mother-goddess who was often portrayed as having many breasts according to the notes on the text. (I suspect that he may have meant Artemis, another mother-goddess who was portrayed with many breasts which were also thought to be gourds or bull testicles.) Along her journey she passed a stone pillar called the Cross-in-Hand – it was by this stone that she eventually passed again with Alec d’Urberville who manipulatively requested that she place her hand on it with the vow to never tempt him again. There is something powerful for me about this stone – it has a tragic history and Tess discovered from a solitary shepherd that it was of ‘ill-omen’ and that it was put up by the relations of a man who was tortured and hung at that spot who sold his soul to the devil. Here we can gain a sense of how tragedy can permeate the land and ‘negative energies’ can persist until we bring them into balance and awareness:

“Of all spots on the bleached and desolate upland this was the most forlorn…Differing accounts were given of its history and purport. Some authorities stated that a devotional cross had once formed the complete erection thereon, of which the present relic was but the stump; others that the stone as it stood was entire, and that it had been fixed there to mark a boundary or place of meeting. Anyhow, whatever the origin of the relic, there was and is something sinister, or solemn, according to mood, in the scene amid which it stands.”


The Cross and Hand stone on the Wessex Ridgeway from http://www.megalithia.com/


In his classic book on ley lines, Alfred Wallace wrote about boundary stones. Mark stones were often given the name ‘King Stone’ and were sometimes connected with stone circles and at Kingston-on-Thames in Surrey, a mark stone was used for coronating the Saxon Kings – this Coronation Stone can be found on the grounds of the Guildhall. Not only did these stones serve great purpose in acting as boundary markers, crossing points for two leys or as way-makers, they had great ceremonial use and were sacred and treasured in the community.


I couldn’t help but feel as if Tess was walking along the lines of her ancient pilgrim ancestors, lost to time – whereas in time’s past these walks would have been for sacred celebration, in Hardy’s tale they were walked in peril in the apex of patriarchy. This place is a ritual landscape – not far from the ‘Cross-in-hand’ stone can be found nearby Cerne Abbas where the giant hill figure can be found in the chalk – this is a land of giants indeed where the place is known as Giant Hill. Hardy refers to this Cerne Abbas as ‘Abbot's Cernel’ where the ‘reformed’ Alec d’Urberville was booked to preach since his conversion to Christianity. In The Sun and the Serpent, Paul Broadhurst and Hamish Miller wrote the following about pilgrims walking along these old tracks:


"From the far corners of the land they have followed in the footsteps of the gods, who, according to tradition, marked out the sacred paths in the earliest days, blessing them with a divine significance. After visiting the shrines and centres of their ancestors, they approach the great temple with a sense of timeless continuity. The countryside has become alive, its arteries pulsing with human energy dedicated to the coming celestial event."


At the tiresome farm where she worked, Tess needed to do hard labour digging up turnips as well as supplying sheaves of wheat to the man at a thresher machine. Interestingly her name, Teresa, (of which Tess is the common nick-name,) is thought to derive from the Greek word meaning ‘harvest’ – I am reminded of the Demeter reference before, who was the goddess of harvest as well as Ceres who was celebrated at May-Day. Demeter was raped by her brother Poseidon according to an Arcadian myth in which she transformed into a horse to escape him, yet also became a horse and the resultant children were Desponia, a goddess and Arion, a divine horse.


‘Demeter Mourning for Persephone’ by Evelyn De Morgan


Yet it was because of her pride that Tess was unwilling to reach out and ask Angel’s family for financial support during her darkest hours - yet I felt admiration for her independence and 'free spirit' (although driven by need) as she walked alone across the tracks of the countryside inquiring after work. When she discovered that her mother was sick, she needed to make the fifteen mile walk home and passed down the clay landscape of Blackmoor Vale:

“Superstitions linger longest on these heavy soils. Having once been forest, at this shadowy time it seemed to assert something of its old character, the far and the near being blended, and every tree and tall hedge making the most of its presence. The harts that had been hunted here, the witches that had been pricked and ducked, the green-spangled fairies that ‘whickered’ at you as you passed; - the place teemed with beliefs in them still, and they formed an impish multitude now.”


Conquering the Demon & Goddess Energy

As the tale became more woeful, Tess was ensnared by Alec d’Urberville in her most desperate hour to protect her mother and siblings from bleak poverty; he convinced her that her husband would never return, calling her husband ‘a mythological personage.’ She stayed in a room with him at Sandbourne but her lover, Angel, eventually returned and found his way to the house. When she realised that Alec had deceived her again she killed him. It was an act of passion and there seems to be something heroic in it despite the complicated ethics – it was the demon she needed to conquer and not the physical man perhaps. Regarding the complicated ethics, is interesting to note that Alec was not brought to justice for his rape of Tess and it was Tess who had to carry the large burden of guilt and shame as well as being commanded to swear not to tempt him at the ‘Cross-in-hand’ stone.


The act of murder by Tess almost seems mythological and I am reminded of Artemis, goddess of the hunt, whose hounds were said to have killed Actaeon after Artemis had turned him into a stag for a transgression. Although Hardy refers to Greek goddesses such as Artemis, the energy of Tess in that moment was perhaps more powerful and I can't help but think of the Hindu goddess Kali who killed demons, although there is no reference to this goddess in the text- Kali is often depicted with a garland of human heads and is considered to be a great protector. This passion in Tess to free herself from such a demonic situation, I feel, was powerful goddess energy finally coming to the surface.


It was thought by writer J. Hillis Miller that Hardy’s feelings were strongest for Tess – at the age of 16 Hardy witnessed the hanging of Elizabeth Martha Brown who had killed her violent husband and it is thought that this influenced the tale. Despite the ethical implications I cannot help but feel inspired by the courage of Tess to stand up to her abuser and reclaim her power even if it was by such drastic means – she pulled herself up from the darkness of her self-imposed guilt and shame and demonstrated that she was a powerful survivor and had freed herself from her victim mentality. I felt proud of her as a character and her ability to survive hardship and find compassion for herself. Tess spoke about how the stories can repeat themselves and I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened to Tess in modern times and can we rewrite the story? Would she have carried so much shame and guilt as a 'rape victim' and would she have been judged so harshly by her lover for not being a maiden? Would Alec have escaped the justice system for the rape crime? If she had murdered Alec, she would have been jailed and afterwards she would have been free to live in love, peace and happiness with Angel, as a powerful survivor, no longer a victim. It could be rewritten even further - that she killed Alec's demon, just as others on a spiritual quest must do, for example the Buddha. She did not punish herself for her experiences - she remembered to see herself instead as a divine goddess who was powerful and had been taken advantage of and finally reclaimed her energy, which was stolen.


I see them both finally reunited, living in a beautiful cottage on the farm that Angel longed for, stronger for having overcome their struggles and continuing to learn the lessons that life has to bring.

From Roman Polanski's film 'Tess.'


Stonehenge

In Hardy’s story, after the murder, Tess ran out of the house to find Angel - they made their way walking along the lanes and roads, eventually staying in an empty house before making their way back on the land. One evening they found themselves stumbling against pillars of rock and the divine lovers found themselves standing at the sacred site, the ‘heathen temple’ of Stonehenge – the most powerful place, energetically, on the land. Here Tess recalled how Angel had endearingly called her a heathen at the dairy-farm and declared that she was ‘at home’ as she stretched out on the altar stone, the ‘Stone of Sacrifice.’ Symbolically, Tess has been seen as an earth goddess or sacrificial victim - we do not know much about the childhood of Tess, but as we're beginning to realise many children have been involved in rituals by the elite and perhaps the core wound was not the rape by Alec - but something deeper and sinister - abuse patterns tend to repeat themselves until we heal them at the root. These patterns can even be from past lives or ancestral and I have no doubt that sacrificial rituals may have taken place at Stonehenge in times past.


It was here at Stone Henge that they were discovered by the police who had come to take Tess away. It was a tragic scene at such a holy place where in times past the site may have been used for sacred marriage rites. Again, they have followed the pathways of their ancient ancestors back to this sacred place but this time they needed to drink from a bitter cup and I couldn’t help but think of the words on her father’s grave: 'HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN.'



Reflecting about this topic, Terence Meaden, an archaeologist and Wiltshireman whose ancestors lived around Avebury and Stonehenge, wrote about Stonehenge and stone circles in Britain and believed strongly that the Neolithic people worshiped fertility deities, and above all, a goddess of the earth and a father of the sky. In his book, Stonehenge, Avebury and Drombeg Stone Circles Deciphered, Meaden wrote that he believed that the stones were used for a hieros gamos, or sacred marriage – a symbolic union of the god and goddess through the falling of the shadow of male, pillar-shaped stones upon feminine-shaped receptors at key times of the year such as solstices, cross-quarter days and pseudo-equinoxes. At the summer solstice, the phallic shadow of the Heel Stone penetrates the main circle, passing through the vulvar arch and touching the womb-like stone. The Heel Stone would therefore represent the divine masculine and the inner circle of stones would represent the divine feminine.


"Something seemed to move on the verge of the dip eastward -- a mere dot. It was the head of a man approaching them from the hollow beyond the Sun-stone. Clare wished they had gone onward, but in the circumstances decided to remain quiet. The figure came straight towards the circle of pillars in which they were." by D. A. Wehrschmidt.


At the end of Hardy’s tale, the hope lies with Liza-Lu, the sister of Tess whom Tess requested that Angel should marry after her own death at the hands of the law:

“She has all the best of me without the bad of me; and if she were to become yours it would almost seem as if death had not divided us.”

She asked Angel to teach and train her sister – through Liza-Lu, the spirit of Tess, as a woman deeply in touch with the subtle ways of living at one with nature, could live on. The story still feels terribly tragic to me, yet this is not an ordinary tale – this is a mythological story and the characters for me are immortal gods and goddesses. When I see it with this lens it feels more bearable to let Tess go and I would love to finish with these words by Rama Kundu:

“Myth is not logical, but intense and epiphanic in effect; hence K.K. Ruthven’s notion “that writers are somehow possessed by the myths they recount (or invent) by virtue of some unique ability to think ‘mythically’ in an age which has aspired since Socratic times to think rationally” (Ruthven 1976: 73). Hardy, who perceived life as a logicless riddle, unexplainable by science, reason or systematic philosophy, found in myth a way of articulating his puzzlement and wonder, agony and bewilderment at the mystery of human suffering.”

'At the First Touch of Winter, Summer Fades Away,' by Valentine Cameron Prinsep

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