Ah, are you digging on my grave
My loved one?--planting rue?"
--"No; yesterday he went to wed
One of the brightest wealth has bred.
'It cannot hurt her now,' he said,
That I 'should not be true.'"

Then who is digging on my grave?
My nearest dearest kin?"
--"Ah, no; they sit and think, 'What use!
What good will planting flowers produce?
No tendance of her mound can loose
Her spirit from Death's gin.'"

But someone digs upon my grave?
My enemy?--prodding sly?"
--"Nay; when she heard you had passed the Gate
That shuts on all flesh soon or late,
She thought you no more worth her hate,
And cares not where you lie."

Then, who is digging on my grave?
Say--since I have not guessed!"
--"0 it is I, my mistress dear,
Your little dog, who still lives near,
And much I hope my movements here
Have not disturbed your rest?"

Ah, yes! You dig upon my grave . . .
Why flashed it not on me
That one true heart was left behind!
What feeling do we ever find
To equal among humankind
A dog's fidelity!"

Mistress, I dug upon your grave
To bury a bone, in case
I should be hungry near this spot
When passing on my daily trot.
I am sorry, but I quite forgot
It was your resting-place."

This poem, written in the form of a dialogue and first published in the Saturday Review for 27 September 1913, is a good illustration of Hardy's often grim sense of humor, and of his tendency to expose romantic or sentimental illusions about love, life, and death. The satirical dialogue, which was first published in the Saturday Review later appeared in volume form in Satires of Circumstance: Lyrics and Reveries (London: Macmillan, 1914). Checked against The Works of Thomas Hardy (Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth, 1994), pp. 310-11.

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Last modified 29 July 2004