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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Epitaph on a Hare

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!

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,

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;

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.

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,

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,

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,

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.

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!