Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)

Drummer Hodge

Thomas Hardy

I

They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
Uncoffined – just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest[1]
That breaks the veldt[2] around;
And foreign constellations west
Each night above his mound.

II

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

III

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

— 1901


  1. Afrikaans for "small hill."
  2. South African grassland.
  3. Semi-desert region of South Africa.

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