They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
     Uncoffined,--just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest1                               1. Boer term for "small hill."
     That breaks the veldt 2 around;                         2 . for "prairie"
And foreign constellations west
     Each night above his mound.


Young Hodge the Drummer never knew--
     Fresh from his Wessex home--
The meaning of the broad Karoo,3                         3. South African plain
     The Bush, the dusty loam,
And why uprose to nightly view
     Strange stars amid the gloam.


Yet portion of that unknown plain
     Will Hodge for ever be;
His homely Northern breast and brain
     Grow to some Southern tree,
And strange-eyed constellations reign
     His stars eternally.

Transcribed from Poems in English 1530-1940, ed. David Daiches and W. Charvat (New York: Ronald Press, 1950), p. 570. Checked against The Works of Thomas Hardy (Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth, 1994), p. 83. First published in Literature 25 November 1899, and in volume form in "War Poems," Poems of Past and Present (London: Macmillan, 1901) [PVA].

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Last modified 29 July 2004