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“Wessex”

Here is one of my favorite dog poems. It is by Thomas Hardy, who is better known for his novels than his poetry. Wessex was the name of Hardy’s dog, and it is also the scene of his novels, such as Return of the Native and Tess of the Durbervilles.

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'I live here: "Wessex" is my name:
I am a dog known rather well:
I guard the house but how that came
To be my whim I cannot tell.

'With a leap and a heart elate I go
At the end of an hour's expectancy
To take a walk of a mile or so
With the folk I let live here with me.

'Along the path, amid the grass
I sniff, and find out rarest smells
For rolling over as I pass
The open fields toward the dells.

'No doubt I shall always cross this sill,
And turn the corner, and stand steady,
Gazing back for my Mistress till
She reaches where I have run already,

'And that this meadow with its brook,
And bulrush, even as it appears
As I plunge by with hasty look,
Will stay the same a thousand years.'

Thus 'Wessex.' But a dubious ray
At times informs his steadfast eye,
Just for a trice, as though to say,
'Yet, will this pass, and pass shall I?' 

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