Thursday, October 9, 2008

Elizabeth Barrett Browning.. A Dog Lover??

Who knew??

Apparently, Flush helped Ms. Browning extensively through an extended illness. She composed this poem in tribute...

To Flush

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Loving friend, the gift of oneWho her own true faith has runThrough thy lower nature,Be my benediction saidWith my hand upon thy head,Gentle fellow-creature!Like a lady's ringlets brown,Flow thy silken ears adownEither side demurelyOf thy silver-suited breastShining out from all the restOf thy body purely.Darkly brown thy body is,Till the sunshine striking thisAlchemise its dullness,When the sleek curls manifoldFlash all over into goldWith a burnished fulness.Underneath my stroking hand,Startled eyes of hazel blandKindling, growing larger,Up thou leapest with a spring,Full of prank and curveting,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 thineFlicker strangely, fair and fineDown their golden inches.Yet, my pretty, sportive friend,Little is't to such an endThat I praise thy rareness;Other dogs may be thy peersHaply in these drooping earsAnd this glossy fairness.But of thee it shall be said,This dog watched beside a bedDay and night unweary,Watched within a curtained roomWhere no sunbeam brake the gloomRound 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 goneLove remains for shining.Other dogs in thymy dewTracked the hares and followed throughSunny moor or meadow;This dog only, crept and creptNext a languid cheek that slept,Sharing in the shadow.Other dogs of loyal cheerBounded at the whistle clear,Up the woodside hieing;This dog only, watched in reachOf a faintly uttered speechOr a louder sighing.And if one or two quick tearsDropped upon his glossy earsOr a sigh came double,Up he sprang in eager haste,Fawning, fondling, breathing fast,In a tender trouble.And this dog was satisfiedIf a pale thin hand would glideDown his dewlaps sloping, —Which he pushed his nose within,After, — platforming his chinOn the palm left open.This dog, if a friendly voiceCall him now to blither choiceThan 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 favor:With my hand upon his head,Is my benediction saidTherefore and for ever.And because he loves me so,Better than his kind will doOften man or woman,Give I back more love againThan 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 failNevermore, 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 cupSet for drinking deep in.Whiskered cats arointed flee,Sturdy stoppers keep from theeCologne distillations;Nuts lie in thy path for stones,And thy feast-day macaroonsTurn to daily rations!Mock I thee, in wishing weal? —Tears are in my eyes to feelThou art made so straitly,Blessing needs must straiten too, —Little canst thou joy or do,Thou who lovest greatly.Yet be blessed to the heightOf all good and all delightPervious to thy nature;Only loved beyond that line,With a love that answers thine,Loving fellow-creature!

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