A SPECKLED cat and a tame hare    
Eat at my hearthstone    
And sleep there;    
And both look up to me alone    
For learning and defence          
As I look up to Providence.    
I start out of my sleep to think    
Some day I may forget    
Their food and drink;    
Or, the house door left unshut,    
The hare may run till it’s found    
The horn’s sweet note and the tooth of the hound.    
I bear a burden that might well try    
Men that do all by rule,    
And what can I    
That am a wandering witted fool    
But pray to God that He ease    
My great responsibilities?    
I slept on my three-legged stool by the fire,    
The speckled cat slept on my knee;  
We never thought to enquire    
Where the brown hare might be,    
And whether the door were shut.    
Who knows how she drank the wind    
Stretched up on two legs from the mat,    
Before she had settled her mind    
To drum with her heel and to leap:    
Had I but awakened from sleep    
And called her name she had heard,    
It may be, and had not stirred,    
That now, it may be, has found    
The horn’s sweet note and the tooth of the hound.

The Wild Swans at Coole. 1919.


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