Although the poem first appeared in book form in Moments of Vision (published on 30 November 1917), its initial appearance in print was in The Times for Christmas Eve, 1915. Undoubtedly Hardy had requested that this occasional piece appear in this particular issue, but could not have anticipated the peritext that would be determined by the exigencies of news, commercial reports, advertising, editorials, and letters. Having noted the report of 698 "Casualties in the Ranks" (page two), Johnson's hypothetical reader would have almost certainly paused in his perusal of The Times to study "Life in Funk-Holes," an advertisement for Bovril that occupies much of the fourth page. Finally, that reader would have encountered Hardy's Christmas Eve reverie on the same page as "Hymns for Time of War," "Christmas Map for German Homes," "Married Soldiers and Savings," "Sir Ernest Cassel. Another Magnificent Donation," an article on the dangers of Parliament's delaying passage of a munitions bill, and a seasonal editorial, "The Second War Christmas" (page 7).

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Last modified 1 August 2001