“Epitaph Upon a Dog” by Charles Fenno Hoffman

by Ann Neilson

Epitaph Upon a Dog[*]
By Charles Fenno Hoffman
From the New-York Book of Poetry, 1837.

An ear that caught my slightest tone
In kindness or in anger spoken;
An eye that ever watch’d my own
In vigils death alone has broken;
Its changeless, ceaseless, and unbought
Affection to the last revealing;
Beaming almost with human thought,
And more than human feeling!

Can such in endless sleep be chilled,
And mortal pride disdain to sorrow,
Because the pulse that here was stilled
May wake to no immortal morrow?
Can faith, devotedness, and love,
That seem to humbler creatures given
To tell us what we owe above!
The types of what is due to Heaven?

Can these be with the things that were,
Things cherished—but no more returning;
And leave behind no trace of care,
No shade that speaks a moment’s mourning?
Alas! my friend, of all of worth,
That years have stol’n or years yet leave me,
I’ve never known so much on earth,
But that the loss of thine must grieve me.

[*]Today we lost our sweet cat. He was 21.