Thomas Hardy

(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928 / Dorchester / England)

Drummer Hodge - Poem by Thomas Hardy

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

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

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


Comments about Drummer Hodge by Thomas Hardy

  • (10/28/2019 1:15:00 PM)

    I would be just as critical if " To kill a mocking bird" was played with any English accent, it is the " feel" of the piece that is disturbed, if not destroyed by 'wrong' voices or accents. I write poetry in Lancashire dialect in which the phrase " weers ti frae" (which phrase possibly Mr Shepherd would recognise!) in an American accent would sound absurd. (Report)Reply

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  • (11/14/2018 10:25:00 AM)

    it was just what i liked to hear (Report)Reply

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  • (1/5/2018 5:08:00 PM)

    I’ve known this poem for 20 years or more and tomorrow I go to South Africa for the first time
    I think it may be that Thomas Hardy has something to do with this
    (Report)Reply

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  • Alisha Castle (3/23/2016 12:59:00 AM)

    So heartthrobing........................................... (Report)Reply

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  • (2/11/2016 12:09:00 PM)

    Yet portion of that unknown plain/Will Hodge forever be I was just struck by how wunderkind Rupert Brooke got (or ripped-off) his idiomatic is forever England from this poem. (Report)Reply

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  • (11/5/2015 1:26:00 AM)

    This is about an English boy soldier, killed in a savage, senseless war and a lonely agonising death. To be read by a woman with an American accent completely destroys the ethos of the poem. Why? Racism? No, Hardy paints a picture of group of rough English squaddies (lower rank soldiers) battle weary and shocked by the sheer violence of the day. As a drummer, Hodge would be no more than 15 years old and this youthfulness would hit them hard; one of them talks about the dead boy, This is Hodge's eulogy; spoken by one of the rough men he drummed into battle, they are his companions, they feel the complete desolation and uselessness of the aftermath of battle, Just as Hodges just as they consider the 'useless' body shovelled under the sand, they express it, not some woman with a foreign accent that makes the poem all wrong. (Report)Reply

    (10/28/2019 10:26:00 AM)

    I agree. I don't see anything racist in your comment. I read " The Sheepdog" (U.A. Fanthorpe) at the request of my mostly American bookclub (one English member- me- and one French) in my best Yorkshire accent (family from Yorkshire) . It would lose half of its appeal read in any other accent- as would e.g " Ode to Billie Joe" (sung by Bobby Gentry) if sung, for heaven's sake, in BBC English.

    (10/28/2019 10:15:00 AM)

    I agree- needs an appropriate English accent (just like " The Sheepdog" by U.A. Fanthorpe, which has to have a Yorkshire accent or it loses so much of its appeal) . My American bookclub loves me to read that poem every Christmas, and no sense of racism- any more than I'd want to hear Billy Jo McAlister (sp?) sung in an English accent.

    (11/4/2017 12:17:00 PM)

    I wrote this comment over two years ago. As I said then, there was no racism. The voice and the accent were wrong to me then as they are now. It was read like a shopping list without cadence or skill.
    I wonder whether you would feel W.C. Bryant's Death of Lincoln meaningful of read in the same way with (say) an English accent (there is no such thing as a British accent!) .
    Hodge was not Hardy's best work, but the poem does capture the laconic sounding irony of the squaddy, weary and sick of war brought up never to show emotion let alone to shed a tear. Unfortunately the voice and accent used just did not cut the mustard.

    (5/16/2016 2:37:00 AM)

    I understand your anger but you must not allow it to splash over into anti-Americanism we all have accents and only professional actors can alter them at will. It is a great poem in Hardy-style showing his depth of learning and poetic genius.

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  • (6/9/2015 9:56:00 PM)

    First time I've seen 'west' used as a verb. I suppose the sun daily wests.
    There's nothing anti-war in the poem as it stands.
    (Report)Reply

    (12/27/2018 12:55:00 AM)

    West in this case is short for the word wester which is a verb pertaining to the sun moon or stars and means moving towards the west.

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  • Juwon Daniel (6/9/2015 5:39:00 AM)

    Though he reign his stay enternally seems not to end his life but a right choice to make him happy and safe. Kudos to thou (Report)Reply

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  • Stephen Pennell (6/9/2015 1:44:00 AM)

    heard this poem while watching the history boys play (Report)Reply

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  • Rajesh Thankappan (3/29/2015 7:40:00 AM)

    War is a senseless act of madness where people kill each other without any guilt or without any individual enmity. Here, I am reminded of my poem ' Victorious Defeat.' which any one of you may find it convenient to read. (Report)Reply

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  • (12/16/2014 8:50:00 AM)

    Senseless war destroys the precious life in younger age. A great poem from great poet. (Report)Reply

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  • (11/4/2014 9:35:00 AM)

    I want to give you ebola Already ReportedReply

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  • D.j Spyder (11/4/2014 9:27:00 AM)

    But could he do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke? (Report)Reply

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  • Farhang Negasgas (11/4/2014 9:13:00 AM)

    I am a little gas man that had fun with drummer hodge (Report)Reply

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  • D.j Spyder (11/4/2014 9:04:00 AM)

    Repost this comment on 500 poems or everybody in the world will die, (sorry I can't take the risk that everybody in the world will die) (Report)Reply

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  • D.j Spyder (11/4/2014 9:01:00 AM)

    unbelievable banter lads (Report)Reply

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  • Farhang Negasgas (11/4/2014 8:56:00 AM)

    i love literature, it makes me smile (Report)Reply

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  • Farhang Negasgas (11/3/2014 8:45:00 AM)

    calvVIN LAI IS AN EVIL MAN (Report)Reply

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  • Farhang Negasgas (11/3/2014 8:45:00 AM)

    why oh why has hardy written a poem about negargar and his evil magic? (Report)Reply

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  • (9/26/2014 6:24:00 AM)

    This poem is all about Calvin Lai (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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