The Whipper-In

A poem by Thomas Hardy

My father was the whipper-in, -
Is still if I'm not misled?
And now I see, where the hedge is thin,
A little spot of red;
Surely it is my father
Going to the kennel-shed!

"I cursed and fought my father aye,
And sailed to a foreign land;
And feeling sorry, I'm back, to stay,
Please God, as his helping hand.
Surely it is my father
Near where the kennels stand?"

" True. Whipper-in he used to be
For twenty years or more;
And you did go away to sea
As youths have done before.
Yes, oddly enough that red there
Is the very coat he wore.

"But he he's dead; was thrown somehow,
And gave his back a crick,
And though that is his coat, 'tis now
The scarecrow of a rick;
You'll see when you get nearer -
'Tis spread out on a stick.

"You see, when all had settled down
Your mother's things were sold,
And she went back to her own town,
And the coat, ate out with mould,
Is now used by the farmer
For scaring, as 'tis old."

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