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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2002 6:50 pm 
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I was looking for some quotes along this line and stumbled on this most remarkable speech and just wanted to share it. I have no idea of the authenticity of it, but it is so beautiful, I almost got a little misty when I read it the first time.

From a speech attributed to Senator George Graham Vest during the 1870 Burden v. Hornsby court case in Warrensburg, Missouri:
http://mathco.com/cheechwizard/animals/tribute.html
The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its' clouds upon our heads.
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, when the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master, as if he were a prince.When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its' journey through the heavens.
If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger to fight his enemies; and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its' embrace, and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.
~"It is said that this speech provided the origin of the phrase, "A man's best friend is his dog."
http://mathco.com/cheechwizard/animals/tribute.html

Diamonds are a girl's best friend and dogs are a man's best friend. Now you know which sex has more sense.
~Zsa Zsa Gabor
When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem."
~ Edward Abbey
The cat could very well be man's best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.
~Doug Larson
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend and inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
~Groucho Marx
A dog who thinks he is a man's best friend is a dog who obviously has never met a tax lawyer.
~ Fran Lebowitz Social Studies, 1981


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2002 7:43 pm 
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Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?
by Thomas Hardy
"Ah, are you digging on my grave
My loved one? -- planting rue?"
-- "No, yesterday he went to wed
One of the brightest wealth has bred.
'It cannot hurt her now,' he said,
'That I should not be true.' "

"Then who is digging on my grave?
My nearest dearest kin?"
-- "Ah, no; they sit and think, 'What use!
What good will planting flowers produce?
No tendance of her mound can loose
Her spirit from Death's gin.' "

"But some one digs upon my grave?
My enemy? -- prodding sly?"
-- "Nay: when she heard you had passed the Gate
That shuts on all flesh soon or late,
She thought you no more worth her hate,
And cares not where you lie."

"Then, who is digging on my grave?
Say -- since I have not guessed!"
-- "O it is I, my mistress dear,
Your little dog, who still lives near,
And much I hope my movements here
Have not disturbed your rest?"

"Ah yes! You dig upon my grave . . .
Why flashed it not on me
That one true heart was left behind!
What feeling do we ever find
To equal among human kind
A dog's fidelity!"

"Mistress, I dug upon your grave
To bury a bone, in case
I should be hungry near this spot
When passing on my daily trot.
I am sorry, but I quite forgot
It was your resting-place."


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2002 8:28 pm 
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I am exposed. I claim to be a Hardy fan, and I see now that I have not even begun to scratch the tip of the iceburg of his work. Funny that you should choose Hardy.

Satires of Circumstance, Thomas Hardy's 1914 book of poems.
http://pages.ripco.net/~mws/Poetry/satires.html

Are You Digging?
Christopher A. Eckert Class of 1998
Dickinson College
Thomas Hardy's poem, "Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?", stands as an excellent example of the poet's feelings toward the situation of mankind in life (and in death). The events of the poem reveal that the relationships held by humanity are transitory, unable to survive the break in continuity caused by death. The final lines of "Are You Digging" extend these limitations to the natural world, and show just how strong a role random chance plays for humans.
In this work, as in some of Hardy's other poetry, the dead still have a voice. Here the deceased is a woman, who at the opening of the poem senses a shifting in the earth above her grave. The woman's call, repeated in the title of the poem, first reaches out to the man who was her beloved. The reply she receives is not from this man--he has wed another woman. As the digger says, the beloved felt that "It cannot hurt her now. . . That I should not be true" (ll. 5-6). Romantic love is the first casualty of the woman's death. The "loved one" is still alive, and thus finds another woman, "One of the brightest wealth has bred" (l. 4), to marry. Hardy's choice to describe the beloved's new bride as prosperous is not an accident. Not only has the beloved forgotten his dead loved one, as any attention he would pay towards the deceased could never be returned, he may have found someone even "better".
Romantic love having failed the woman, she turns to familial love. Such emotions should be far more durable: the bond of a common background calls for respect, even after death. This view is broken by the response the deceased receives upon her second call. Her beloved having failed her, the woman calls out to her "nearest dearest kin" (l. 8). The speaker digging at the grave relates that they have not come to the site, for they feel the tending of her burial place to be useless; nothing will alter the fact she has died. If she can not be brought back to the living, she is best forgotten. Though the woman's influence as a daughter, a sister, or a mother has no doubt been great on the lives of her family, this influence has ended with her death. Thus the woman's family fails her.
No form of love serving to keep the woman in the minds of others, her next call is directed toward one who held a very different emotion. Hate can be just as strong as love and shows a great tendency to remain strong over time. Thus the woman calls out to her enemy, thinking that perhaps she has come to continue her machinations against the deceased. The answering voice reveals that even this emotion fails to maintain its strength once its object has disappeared. The extremes of human emotion have failed to endure past the woman's death, removing all human interactions from this consideration. Hardy's words relate that all human emotion is transitory; all can decay with time.
Once the woman has exhausted all hope of resuming a lost relationship, the answering voice finally reveals itself to be her pet dog. Though all her human relationships have failed her, the more basic and natural fondness of a pet remains. Upon discovery of the speaker's identity, the deceased praises the animal's faithfulness as the "one true heart . . . left behind" (l. 27). The dog's presence gives her hope of a continued presence in the world, but even this is finally shattered. The dog was digging at the burial site only by chance; it simply wished to bury a bone in a convenient location. The woman's relationship with the natural world seemed to have been the only interaction that remained intact. What the deceased praises as "A dog's fidelity" (l. 30) proves only to be a random event.
This is perhaps the most unsettling conclusion Hardy makes: though one may make a fleeting connection with the world, its unthinking nature prevents any long-lasting influence. The final lines of the poem relate the animal's confession: "I am sorry, but I quite forgot / It was your resting-place" (ll. 35-36). Soon after the conversation between the dog and the woman is over, the animal will again forget the incident. The hound's interaction only seems to show concern with his mistress's welfare.
"Are You Digging" shows a strong central idea: relationships with anyone or anything outside one's self are tenuous and not to be fully trusted. For Hardy, the natural world is a chaotic entity, with which any connection is even more fleeting that those with his fellow men. This inability to fully connect with others not only causes disappointment when the realization of one's situation is fully formed, but it also relegates everyone to the corpse-like condition of the poem's deceased. Though we are not yet dead, our existence is very similar; we may at times connect with another, but only for a moment.
http://www.gettysburg.edu/academics/eng ... gingx.html


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2002 6:03 am 
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I claim to be a Hardy fan, and I see now that I have not even begun to scratch the tip of the iceburg of his work. Funny that you should choose Hardy.

Satires of Circumstance, Thomas Hardy's 1914 book of poems.
http://pages.ripco.net/~mws/Poetry/satires.html

Are You Digging?
Christopher A. Eckert Class of 1998
Dickinson College
Thomas Hardy's poem, "Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?", stands as an excellent example of the poet's feelings toward the situation of mankind in life (and in death). The events of the poem reveal that the relationships held by humanity are transitory, unable to survive the break in continuity caused by death. The final lines of "Are You Digging" extend these limitations to the natural world, and show just how strong a role random chance plays for humans.
In this work, as in some of Hardy's other poetry, the dead still have a voice. Here the deceased is a woman, who at the opening of the poem senses a shifting in the earth above her grave. The woman's call, repeated in the title of the poem, first reaches out to the man who was her beloved. The reply she receives is not from this man--he has wed another woman. As the digger says, the beloved felt that "It cannot hurt her now. . . That I should not be true" (ll. 5-6). Romantic love is the first casualty of the woman's death. The "loved one" is still alive, and thus finds another woman, "One of the brightest wealth has bred" (l. 4), to marry. Hardy's choice to describe the beloved's new bride as prosperous is not an accident. Not only has the beloved forgotten his dead loved one, as any attention he would pay towards the deceased could never be returned, he may have found someone even "better".
Romantic love having failed the woman, she turns to familial love. Such emotions should be far more durable: the bond of a common background calls for respect, even after death. This view is broken by the response the deceased receives upon her second call. Her beloved having failed her, the woman calls out to her "nearest dearest kin" (l. 8). The speaker digging at the grave relates that they have not come to the site, for they feel the tending of her burial place to be useless; nothing will alter the fact she has died. If she can not be brought back to the living, she is best forgotten. Though the woman's influence as a daughter, a sister, or a mother has no doubt been great on the lives of her family, this influence has ended with her death. Thus the woman's family fails her.
No form of love serving to keep the woman in the minds of others, her next call is directed toward one who held a very different emotion. Hate can be just as strong as love and shows a great tendency to remain strong over time. Thus the woman calls out to her enemy, thinking that perhaps she has come to continue her machinations against the deceased. The answering voice reveals that even this emotion fails to maintain its strength once its object has disappeared. The extremes of human emotion have failed to endure past the woman's death, removing all human interactions from this consideration. Hardy's words relate that all human emotion is transitory; all can decay with time.
Once the woman has exhausted all hope of resuming a lost relationship, the answering voice finally reveals itself to be her pet dog. Though all her human relationships have failed her, the more basic and natural fondness of a pet remains. Upon discovery of the speaker's identity, the deceased praises the animal's faithfulness as the "one true heart . . . left behind" (l. 27). The dog's presence gives her hope of a continued presence in the world, but even this is finally shattered. The dog was digging at the burial site only by chance; it simply wished to bury a bone in a convenient location. The woman's relationship with the natural world seemed to have been the only interaction that remained intact. What the deceased praises as "A dog's fidelity" (l. 30) proves only to be a random event.
This is perhaps the most unsettling conclusion Hardy makes: though one may make a fleeting connection with the world, its unthinking nature prevents any long-lasting influence. The final lines of the poem relate the animal's confession: "I am sorry, but I quite forgot / It was your resting-place" (ll. 35-36). Soon after the conversation between the dog and the woman is over, the animal will again forget the incident. The hound's interaction only seems to show concern with his mistress's welfare.
"Are You Digging" shows a strong central idea: relationships with anyone or anything outside one's self are tenuous and not to be fully trusted. For Hardy, the natural world is a chaotic entity, with which any connection is even more fleeting that those with his fellow men. This inability to fully connect with others not only causes disappointment when the realization of one's situation is fully formed, but it also relegates everyone to the corpse-like condition of the poem's deceased. Though we are not yet dead, our existence is very similar; we may at times connect with another, but only for a moment.
http://www.gettysburg.edu/academics/eng ... gingx.html[/quote]


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