To Flush, My Dog


To Flush, My Dog is featured in our collection of Dog Stories.
To Flush, My Dog
James Ward, Ms. Tempest's Favorite Spaniel, 1819
    Loving friend, the gift of one,
    Who, her own true faith, hath run,
    Through thy lower nature;
    Be my benediction said
    With my hand upon thy head,
    Gentle fellow-creature!

    Like a lady's ringlets brown,
    Flow thy silken ears adown
    Either side demurely,
    Of thy silver-suited breast
    Shining out from all the rest
    Of thy body purely.

    Darkly brown thy body is,
    Till the sunshine, striking this,
    Alchemize its dulness,
    When the sleek curls manifold
    Flash all over into gold,
    With a burnished fulness.

    Underneath my stroking hand,
    Startled eyes of hazel bland
    Kindling, growing larger,
    Up thou leapest with a spring,
    Full of prank and curvetting,
    Leaping like a charger.

    Leap! thy broad tail waves a light;
    Leap! thy slender feet are bright,
    Canopied in fringes.
    Leap those tasselled ears of thine
    Flicker strangely, fair and fine,
    Down their golden inches

    Yet, my pretty sportive friend,
    Little is 't to such an end
    That I praise thy rareness!
    Other dogs may be thy peers
    Haply in these drooping ears,
    And this glossy fairness.

    But of thee it shall be said,
    This dog watched beside a bed
    Day and night unweary,
    Watched within a curtained room,
    Where no sunbeam brake the gloom
    Round the sick and dreary.

    Roses, gathered for a vase,
    In that chamber died apace,
    Beam and breeze resigning
    This dog only, waited on,
    Knowing that when light is gone,
    Love remains for shining.

    Other dogs in thymy dew
    Tracked the hares and followed through
    Sunny moor or meadow
    This dog only, crept and crept
    Next a languid cheek that slept,
    Sharing in the shadow.

    Other dogs of loyal cheer
    Bounded at the whistle clear,
    Up the woodside hieing
    This dog only, watched in reach
    Of a faintly uttered speech,
    Or a louder sighing.

    And if one or two quick tears
    Dropped upon his glossy ears,
    Or a sigh came double,
    Up he sprang in eager haste,
    Fawning, fondling, breathing fast,
    In a tender trouble.

    And this dog was satisfied,
    If a pale thin hand would glide,
    Down his dewlaps sloping,
    Which he pushed his nose within,
    After, platforming his chin
    On the palm left open.

    This dog, if a friendly voice
    Call him now to blyther choice
    Than such chamber-keeping,
    Come out! 'praying from the door,
    Presseth backward as before,
    Up against me leaping.

    Therefore to this dog will I,
    Tenderly not scornfully,
    Render praise and favour!
    With my hand upon his head,
    Is my benediction said
    Therefore, and for ever.

    And because he loves me so,
    Better than his kind will do
    Often, man or woman,
    Give I back more love again
    Than dogs often take of men,
    Leaning from my Human.

    Blessings on thee, dog of mine,
    Pretty collars make thee fine,
    Sugared milk make fat thee!
    Pleasures wag on in thy tail
    Hands of gentle motion fail
    Nevermore, to pat thee!

    Downy pillow take thy head,
    Silken coverlid bestead,
    Sunshine help thy sleeping!
    No fly 's buzzing wake thee up
    No man break thy purple cup,
    Set for drinking deep in.

    Whiskered cats arointed flee
    Sturdy stoppers keep from thee
    Cologne distillations;
    Nuts lie in thy path for stones,
    And thy feast-day macaroons
    Turn to daily rations!

    Mock I thee, in wishing weal ?
    Tears are in my eyes to feel
    Thou art made so straightly,
    Blessing needs must straighten too,
    Little canst thou joy or do,
    Thou who lovest greatly.

    Yet be blessed to the height
    Of all good and all delight
    Pervious to thy nature,
    Only loved beyond that line,
    With a love that answers thine,
    Loving fellow-creature!


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