Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
Epitaph on a Hare
By William Cowper (1731–1800)
 
HERE lies, whom hound did ne’er pursue,
  Nor swifter greyhound follow;
Whose foot ne’er tainted morning dew,
  Nor ear heard huntsman’s halloo.
 
Old Tiney, the surliest of his kind!        5
  Who, nursed with tender care,
And to domestic bounds confined,
  Was still a wild Jack hare.
 
Though duly from my hand he took
  His pittance every night,        10
He did it with a jealous look;
  And, when he could, would bite.
 
His diet was of wheaten bread,
  And milk, and oats, and straw;
Thistles, or lettuces instead;        15
  And sand to scour his maw.
 
On twigs of hawthorn he regaled,
  On pippins’ russet peel;
And, when his juicy salads failed,
  Sliced carrot pleased him well.        20
 
A Turkey carpet was his lawn,
  Whereon he loved to bound,
To skip, and gambol like a fawn,
  And swing his rump around.
 
His frisking was at evening hours,        25
  For then he lost his fear;
But most before approaching showers,
  Or when a storm drew near.
 
Eight years and five round-rolling moons
  He thus saw steal away,        30
Dozing out all his idle noons,
  And every night at play.
 
I kept him for his humour’s sake;
  For he would oft beguile
My heart of thoughts that made it ache,        35
  And force me to a smile.
 
But now, beneath his walnut shade,
  He finds his long last home;
And waits, in snug concealment laid,
  Till gentler Puss shall come.        40
 
He, still more agèd, feels the shocks
  From which no care can save;
And, partner once of Tiney’s box,
  Must soon partake his grave!
 
 
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