Jonathan Beckman’s review of Sam Leith’s Dead Pets includes a withering and entertaining aside about my favorite poet:
Thomas Hardy’s dog Wessex was violent and irascible in life, though Hardy’s wife, Florence, adored him and was convinced he had psychic powers. Hardy refused to write about the pooch when it was alive. However, after his passing, he wrote a typically sentimental elegy in which a ghostly Wessex addresses his former owners. After Leith puckishly points out that the scansion is identical to ‘She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain’, it’s impossible to read the poem without this thoroughly inappropriate melodic accompaniment.
Anyone know which poem Beckman means? “Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?” doesn’t fit his description.
Update: Dave Lull uncovers the answer: “Dead ‘Wessex’ the Dog to the Household.”