The Mongrel

Thomas Hardy

In Havenpool Harbour the ebb was strong,

And a man with a dog drew near and hung,

And taxpaying day was coming along,

So the mongrel had to be drowned.

The man threw a stick from the paved wharf-side

Into the midst of the ebbing tide,

And the dog jumped after with ardent pride

To bring the stick aground.


But no: the steady suck of the flood

To seaward needed, to be withstood,

More than the strength of mongrelhood

To fight its trecherous trend.

So, swimming for life with desperate will,

The struggler with all his natant skill

Kept bouyant in front of his master, still

There standing to wait the end.


The loving eyes of the dog inclined

To the man he held as a god enshrined,

With no suspicion in his mind

That this had all been meant.

Till the effort not to drift from shore

Of his little legs grew slower and slower,

And the tide still outing with brookless power

Outward the dog, too, went.


Just ere his sinking what does one see

Break on the face of that devotee?

A wakening to the treachery

He had loved with love so blind?

The faith that had shone in that mongrel's eye

That his owner would save him by and by

Turned to much like a curse as he sank to die,

And a loathing of mankind.