Flush – a famous dog of history owned by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Flush was the name of the dog owned by the English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Elizabeth lived for some of her life in the village of Sidmouth, South Devon. She also, at a later date moved to Torquay. But she ended up back to London, in Wimpole Street.

Elizabeth Barrett was an invalid and confined to the house for many years. During this time she acquired a love of poetry and wrote the famous dog poem simply called “To Flush, My Dog.”  Here is the poem:

Yet, my pretty sportive friend,
Little is’t to such an end
That I praise thy rareness!
Other dogs may be thy peers
Haply in these drooping ears,
And this glossy fairness.

But of thee it shall be said,
This dog watched beside a bed
Day and night unweary
Watched within a curtained room,
Where no sunbeam brake the gloom
Round the sick and dreary.

Roses, gathered for a vase,
In that chamber died apace,
Beam and breeze resigning.
This dog only, waited on,
Knowing that when light is gone
Love remains for shining.

Other dogs in thymy dew
Tracked the hares, and followed through
Sunny moor or meadow.
This dog only, crept and crept
Next a languid cheek that slept,
Sharing in the shadow.

Other dogs of loyal cheer
Bounded at the whistle clear,
Up the woodside hieing.
This dog only, watched in reach
Of a faintly uttered speech,
Or a louder sighing.

And if one or two quick tears
Dropped upon his glossy ears,
Or a sigh came double
Up he sprang in eager haste,
Fawning, fondling, breathing fast,
In a tender trouble.

And this dog was satisfied
If a pale thin hand would glide
Down his dewlaps sloping
Which he pushed his nose within,
After—platforming his chin
On the palm left open.

Her love of poetry led her to meet another famous English poet called Robert Browning. They fell in love and married despite the objections of her father.

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About the Author: Carole Langman works behind the scenes at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs as the Business Manager. Her office is always a hive of activity, and with the vast amounts of work Carole has, we never really know how she gets through it all! To unwind, she loves gardening, hikes around Bowerland, travelling and writing.

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