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A poem written by Eugene O'Neill

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A poem written by Eugene O'Neill
  • I've never seen this one, and thought I'd share.

    The Last Will and Testament
    of An Extremely Distinguished Dog
    [align=center] The reputation of Eugene O'Neill as the American Shakespeare was established even before his death in 1953. O'Neill's output was formidable - more than 30 plays, including the posthumously produced classic, Long Day's Journey Into Night. He was a Nobel Prize winner. Reflecting his own tempestuous emotional background - be came from a yeasty but tragic Irish-American family - his plays are rarely engaging. So his epitaph to his dog is a rarity among O'Neill documents - sentimental, even whimsical, close in spirit to his one major comedy, Ah Wilderness! The dog was acquired at a relatively peaceful period of O'Neill's life. He and his protective third wife, the beautiful actress Carlotta Monterey, looked upon it as their 'child.' O'Neill wrote Blemie's will as a comfort to Carlotta just before the dog died in its old age in December 1940
    Last Will and Testament
    I, Silverdene Emblem O'Neill (familiarly known to my family,
    friends and acquaintances as Blemie), because the
    burden of my years is heavy upon me, and I realize the end of my
    life is near, do hereby bury my last will and
    testament in the mind of my Master. He will not know it is there
    until I am dead. Then, remembering me in his
    loneliness, he will suddenly know of this testament, and I ask
    him then to inscribe it as a memorial to me.

    I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are
    wiser than men. They do not set great store upon
    things. They do not waste their time hoarding property. They do
    not ruin their sleep worrying about objects they
    have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing
    of value I have to bequeath except my love and
    my faith. These I leave to those who have loved me, to my Master
    and Mistress, who I know will mourn me most,
    to Freeman who has been so good to me, to Cyn and Roy and Willie
    and Naomi and - but if I should list all those
    who have loved me it would force my Master to write a book.
    Perhaps it is in vain of me to boast when I am so
    near death, which returns all beasts and vanities to dust, but I
    have always been an extremely lovable dog.

    I ask my Master and Mistress to remember me always, but not to
    grieve for me too long. In my life I have tried to
    be a comfort to them in time of sorrow, and a reason for added
    joy in their happiness. It is painful for me to think
    that even in death I should cause them pain. Let them remember
    that while no dog has ever had a happier life (and
    this I owe to their love and care for me), now that I have grown
    blind and deaf and lame, and even my sense of
    smell fails me so that a rabbit could be right under my nose and
    I might not know, my pride has sunk to a sick,
    bewildered humiliation. I feel life is taunting me with having
    over lingered my welcome. It is time I said good-by,
    before I become too sick a burden on myself and on those who love
    me.
    It will be sorrow to leave them, but not a
    sorrow to die. Dogs do not fear death as men do. We accept it as
    part of life, not as something alien and terrible
    which destroys life. What may come after death, who knows? I
    would like to believe with those of my fellow
    Dalmatians who are devout Mohammedans, that there is a Paradise
    where one is always young and
    full-bladdered; here all the day one dillies and dallies with an
    amorous multitude of houris, beautifully spotted;
    where jack-rabbits that run fast but not too fast (like the
    houris) are as the sands of the desert; where each blissful
    hour is mealtime; where in long evenings there are a million
    fireplaces with logs forever burning and one curls
    oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams,
    remembering the old brave days on earth, and the
    love of one's Master and Mistress.

    I am afraid this is too much for even such a dog as I am to
    expect. But peace, at least, is certain. Peace and long
    rest for weary old heart and head and limbs, and eternal sleeps
    in the earth I have loved so well. Perhaps, after all,
    this is best.

    One last request I earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say,
    'When Blemie dies we must never have another
    dog. I love him so much I could never love another one.' Now I
    would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It
    would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again.
    What I would like to feel is that, having once
    had me in the family, now she cannot live without a dog! I have
    never had a narrow jealous spirit. I have always
    held that most dogs are good (and one cat, the black one I have
    permitted to share the living-room rug during the
    evenings, whose affection I have tolerated in a kindly spirit,
    and in rare sentimental moods, even reciprocated a
    trifle). Some dogs, of course, are better than others.
    Dalmatians, naturally, as everyone knows, are best.

    So I suggest a Dalmatian as my successor. He can hardly be as
    well bred, or as well mannered or as distinguished
    and handsome as I was in my prime. My Master and Mistress must
    not ask the impossible. But he will do his
    best, I am sure, and even his inevitable defects will help by
    comparison to keep my memory green. To him I
    bequeath my collar and leash and my overcoat and raincoat, made
    to order in 1929 at Hermes in Paris. He can
    never wear them with the distinction I did, walking around the
    Place Vendome, or later along Park Avenue, all
    eyes fixed on me in admiration; but again I am sure he will do
    his utmost not to appear a mere gauche provincial
    dog. Here on the ranch, he may prove himself quite worthy of
    comparison, in some respects. He will, I presume,
    come closer to jackrabbits than I have been able to in recent
    years. And, for all his faults, I hereby wish him the
    happiness I know will be his in my old home.

    One last word of farewell, Dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you
    visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret
    but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my
    long happy life with you: 'here lies one who
    loved us and whom we loved.' No matter how deep my sleep I shall
    hear you, and not all the power of death can
    keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail.

  • Marty -  thanks for posting that.  I've seen little snippets from it before, but never the whole piece from start to finish.  It's wonderful - I'll definitely print it for my scrapbook collection of similar writings.