Has never heard the sanguinary yell
Of cruel man, exulting in her woes.
Innocent partner of my peaceful home,
Whom ten long years’ experience of my care
Has made at last familiar; she has lost
Much of her vigilant, instinctive dread.
Not needful here, beneath a roof like mine.
Yes – thou may’st eat thy bread, and lick the hand
That feeds thee; thou may’st frolic on the floor
At evening, and at night retire secure
To thy straw couch, and slumber unalarm’d.
For I have gain’d the confidence, have pledg’d
All that is human in me to protect
Thine unsuspecting gratitude and love.
If I survive thee I will dig thy grave
And, when I place thee in it, sighing, say,
I knew at least one hare that had a friend.
"This poem about his not very nice but beloved pet rabbit, Tiney, is funny and charming, but those qualities do not divorce the poem from Cowper's intense melancholy and dread. The poem is about death and comfort, and it demonstrates the genuineness of its humility by its careful attention to details. The straightforwardness and smiling directness are sad, temperate, heartfelt, and moving, as well as droll."
Here lies, whom hound did ne'er pursue,