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               John Jay Chapman (1862-1933)

                              TO  A  DOG

    PAST happiness dissolves. It fades away,
            Ghost-like, in that dim attic of the mind
    To which the dreams of childhood are consigned.
    Here, withered garlands hang in slow decay,
    And trophies glimmer in the dying ray
    Of stars that once with heavenly glory shined.
    But you, old friend, are you still left behind
    To tell the nearness of life's yesterday?
    Ah, boon companion of my vanished boy,
    For you he lives; in every sylvan walk
    He waits; and you expect him everywhere.
    How would you stir, what cries, what bounds of joy,
    If but his voice were heard in casual talk,
    If but his footstep sounded on the stair!


To a Dog first appeared in the July 1918 issue of Vanity Fair. It was collected in:

  • Chapman, John Jay. Songs and Poems. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1919.

    Chapman's son Victor (1890-1917) joined the French Foreign Legion in 1914, and in 1916 was a founding member of the Escadrille Americaine. He was shot down and killed by enemy fire on June 24, 1916 over Douaumont, France - the first American pilot killed in the war. His letters from France, along with a memoir from his father, were published in 1917.

  • Chapman, Victor Emmanuel, and Chapman, John Jay. Victor Chapman's Letters from France. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1917.