The Dog's Book
J. Earl Clauson
"'I never barked when out of season; I never bit without a reason; I ne'er insulted weaker brother, Nor wronged by fraud or force another;' Though brutes are placed a rank below, Happy for man could he say so."
Boston Small, Maynard & Company Publishers
BY SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY
THE MEMORY OF
Matthew Arnold, explaining why those were his most popular poems which dealt with his canine pets, Geist, Kaiser, and Max, said that while comparatively few loved poetry, nearly everyone loved dogs.
The literature of the Anglo-Saxon is rich in tributes to the dog, as becomes a race which beyond any other has understood and developed its four-footed companions. Canine heroes whose intelligence and faithfulness our prose writers have celebrated start to the memory in scores—Bill Sykes's white shadow, which refused to be separated from its master even by death; Rab, savagely devoted; the immortal Bob, "son of battle"—true souls all, with hardly a villain among them for artistic contrast. Even Red Wull, the killer, we admire for his courage and lealty.
Within these covers is a selection from a large body of dog verse. It is a selection made on the principle of human appeal. Dialect, and the poems of the earlier writers whose diction strikes oddly on our modern ears, have for the most part been omitted. The place of such classics as may be missed is filled by that vagrant verse which is often most truly the flower of inspiration.
PART I PUPPYHOOD
TITLE AUTHOR PAGE
We Meet at Morn Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley 3
The Lost Puppy Henry Firth Wood 5
A Laugh in Church Anonymous 8
Treasures Anonymous 10
That There Long Dog Alice Gill Ferguson 11
My Friend Anonymous 12
Ted Maxine Anna Buck 14
Little Lost Pup Anonymous 16
My Brindle Bull-Terrier Coletta Ryan 18
Lauth Robert Burns 20
The Drowned Spaniel Charles Tennyson Turner 21
PART II THE HUMAN RELATIONSHIP
Cluny William Croswell Doane 25
The Best Friend Meribah Abbott 26
My Dog and I Alice J. Chester 27
My Gentleman Anonymous 29
The Dead Boy's Portrait and His Dog Gerald Massey 31
Advice to a Dog Painter Jonathan Swift 33
Mercy's Reward Sir Edwin Arnold 34
Beau and the Water Lily William Cowper 37
Petronius Frederic P. Ladd 39
My Dog Joseph M. Anderson 40
Charity's Eye William Rounseville Alger 42
To Blanco J.G. Holland 44
The Ould Hound Arthur Stringer 46
The Miser's Only Friend George Crabbe 48
Poor Dog Tray Thomas Campbell 51
My Comforter Anonymous 53
The Little White Dog May Ellis Nichols 54
The Irish Greyhound Katherine Phillips 55
The Vagabonds J.T. Trowbridge 57
In Cineam Sir John Davies 62
Old Matthew's Dog Anonymous 63
A Dog and a Man Anonymous 67
Rover-Dog Marie Louise Tompkins 68
Horse, Dog and Man S.E. Kiser 70
The Best Dog Anonymous 73
Caesar, King Edward's Dog O. Middleton 75
Just Our Dog Anonymous 76
Ragged Rover Leslie Clare Manchester 78
To Flush, My Dog Elizabeth Barrett Browning 80
Frances Richard Wightman 86
To My Setter, Scout Frank H. Selden 88
Why Strik'st Thou Me? Nathan Haskell Dole (Translator) 90
Consolation Howard C. Kegley 92
Argus Alexander Pope 93
Chained in the Yard Anonymous 94
Why the Dog's Nose is Cold Margaret Eytinge 95
Dog Language Marion Hovey Briggs 97
A Dog's Loyalty Anonymous 98
PART III THE DOG IN ACTION
Told to the Missionary George R. Sims 101
The Dog of the Louvre Ralph Cecil 106
The Chase Lord Somerville 109
The Under Dog Anonymous 111
The Shepherd and His Dog William Lisle Bowles 112
Beth Gelert William Robert Spencer 113
The Flag and the Faithful William J. Lampton 117
A Guardian at the Gate John Clare 118
A Tale of the Reign of Terror Caroline Bowles Southey 119
An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog Oliver Goldsmith 126
The Fusiliers' Dog Francis Doyle 128
Fidelity William Wordsworth 131
The Shepherd Dog of the Pyrenees Ellen Murray 134
The Dog Under the Wagon Anonymous 137
Sal's Towser and My Trouser Anonymous 139
Rover in Church James Buckham 141
PART IV THE DOG'S HEREAFTER
Billy Lorenzo Sears 145
The Bond George H. Nettle 147
To a Dog Anonymous 148
Canine Immortality Robert Southey 150
A Friendly Welcome Lord Byron 152
Exemplary Nick Sydney Smith 153
The Difference Anonymous 154
Laddie Katherine Lee Bates 155
A Dog's Epitaph Lord Byron 157
The Passing of a Dog Anonymous 159
My Dog Anonymous 160
Jack H.P.W. 161
In Memory of "Don" M.S.W. 162
Roderick Dhu Helen Fitzgerald Sanders 164
Questions William Hurrell Mallock 166
His Epitaph William Watson 167
In Memoriam Henry Willett 168
Questions Oliver Wendell Holmes 170
Our Dog Jock James Payn 171
Tory, a Puppy Mortimer Collins 172
On an Irish Retriever Fanny Kemble Butler 173
A Retriever's Epitaph Robert C. Lehmann 174
"What other nature yours than of a child Whose dumbness finds a voice mighty to call, In wordless pity, to the souls of all, Whose lives I turn to profit, and whose mute And constant friendship links the man and brute?"
THE DOG'S BOOK OF VERSE
WE MEET AT MORN
Still half in dream, upon the stair I hear A patter coming nearer and more near, And then upon my chamber door A gentle tapping, For dogs, though proud, are poor, And if a tail will do to give command Why use a hand? And after that a cry, half sneeze, half yapping, And next a scuffle on the passage floor, And then I know the creature lies to watch Until the noiseless maid will lift the latch. And like a spring That gains its power by being tightly stayed, The impatient thing Into the room Its whole glad heart doth fling, And ere the gloom Melts into light, and window blinds are rolled, I hear a bounce upon the bed, I feel a creeping toward me—a soft head, And on my face A tender nose, and cold— This is the way, you know, that dogs embrace— And on my hand, like sun-warmed rose-leaves flung, The least faint flicker of the warmest tongue —And so my dog and I have met and sworn Fresh love and fealty for another morn.
HARDWICKE DRUMMOND RAWNSLEY.
THE LOST PUPPY
Say! little pup, What's up? Your tail is down And out of sight Between your legs; Why, that ain't right. Little pup, Brace up!
Say! little pup, Look up! Don't hang your head And look so sad, You're all mussed up, But you ain't mad. Little pup, Cheer up!
Say! little pup, Stir up! Is that a string Around your tail? And was it fast To a tin pail? Little pup, Git up.
Say! little pup, Talk up. Were those bad boys All after you, With sticks and stones, And tin cans, too? Little pup, Speak up!
Say! little pup, Stand up! Let's look at you; You'd be all right If you was scrubbed And shined up bright. Little pup, Jump up!
Say! little pup, Bark up! Let's hear your voice. Say, you're a brick! Now try to beg And do a trick. Little pup, Sit up!
Say! little pup, Chime up! Why, you can sing— Now come with me; Let's wash and eat And then we'll see, Little pup, What's up!
HENRY FIRTH WOOD.
A LAUGH IN CHURCH
She sat on the sliding cushion, The dear, wee woman of four; Her feet, in their shiny slippers, Hung dangling over the floor. She meant to be good; she had promised, And so with her big, brown eyes, She stared at the meetinghouse windows And counted the crawling flies.
She looked far up at the preacher, But she thought of the honeybees Droning away at the blossoms That whitened the cherry trees. She thought of a broken basket, Where curled in a dusky heap, Four sleek, round puppies, with fringy ears. Lay snuggled and fast asleep.
Such soft, warm bodies to cuddle, Such queer little hearts to beat, Such swift round tongues to kiss, Such sprawling, cushiony feet; She could feel in her clasping fingers The touch of the satiny skin, And a cold, wet nose exploring The dimples under her chin.
Then a sudden ripple of laughter Ran over the parted lips So quick that she could not catch it With her rosy finger-tips. The people whispered "Bless the child," As each one waked from a nap, But the dear, wee woman hid her face For shame in her mother's lap.
They got a bran' new baby At Bud Hicks' house, you see. You'd think Bud Hicks had somethin' The way he talks to me! He comes around a-braggin', An' when he wouldn't quit I said: "What good's a baby? You can't hunt fleas on it."
Then Bud turned to me an' told me How loud that kid could yell, An' lots I can't remember, He had so much to tell. But I got tired o' hearin' An' so I ast him, quick, "If you wuz in a-swimmin' Could it go get a stick?"
There is no use a-talkin', Bud thinks their baby's fine! Huh! I'd a whole lot rather Jest have a pup like mine. I'll bet it's not bald-headed! But if Bud doesn't fail To let me hear it yellin', I'll let him pull Spot's tail.
THAT THERE LONG DOG
Funniest little feller You'd ever want to see! Browner 'an the brownest leaf In the autumn tree. Shortest little bow legs! Jes' barely touch the floor— And long—b'gosh, the longest dog I ever seen afore!
But he's mighty amusin', For all 'at he's so queer, Eyes so mighty solemn, Askin' like an' clear, And when he puts his paws up, Head stuck on one side— Jes' naturally love every hair In his durn Dutch hide.
ALICE GILL FERGUSON.
True and trustful, never doubting, Is my young and handsome friend; Always jolly, Full of fun, Bright eyes gleaming Like the sun— Never see him blue or pouting From the day's break to its end.
Whether I am "flush" or "busted" Makes no difference to him! "Let's be gay, sir"— He would say, sir— "Won't have any Other way, sir!" Oh, he's never cross and crusted— Light of heart and full of vim!
Often we go out together For a ramble far and wide— Catch the breezes Fresh and strong Down the mountain Swept along— For we never mind the weather When we two are side by side.
But my friend is sometimes quiet, And I've caught his clear brown eye Gazing at me, Mute, appealing— Telling something, Yet concealing, Yes, he'd like to talk! Well, try it— "Bow, wow, wow," and that's his cry!
I have a little brindle dog, Seal-brown from tail to head. His name I guess is Theodore, But I just call him Ted.
He's only eight months old to-day I guess he's just a pup; Pa says he won't be larger When he is all grown up.
He plays around about the house, As good as he can be, He don't seem like a little dog, He's just like folks to me.
And when it is my bed-time, Ma opens up the bed; Then I nestle down real cozy And just make room for Ted
And oh, how nice we cuddle! He doesn't fuss or bite, Just nestles closely up to me And lays there still all night.
We love each other dearly, My little Ted and me. We're just good chums together, And always hope to be.
MAXINE ANNA BUCK.
LITTLE LOST PUP
He was lost!—Not a shade of doubt of that; For he never barked at a slinking cat, But stood in the square where the wind blew raw, With a drooping ear, and a trembling paw, And a mournful look in his pleading eye, And a plaintive sniff at the passer-by That begged as plain as a tongue could sue, "Oh, Mister, please may I follow you?" A lorn, wee waif of a tawny brown Adrift in the roar of a heedless town. Oh, the saddest of sights in a world of sin Is a little lost pup with his tail tucked in!
Well, he won my heart (for I set great store On my own red Bute, who is here no more) So I whistled clear, and he trotted up, And who so glad as that small lost pup?
Now he shares my board, and he owns my bed, And he fairly shouts when he hears my tread. Then if things go wrong, as they sometimes do, And the world is cold, and I'm feeling blue, He asserts his right to assuage my woes With a warm, red tongue and a nice, cold nose, And a silky head on my arm or knee, And a paw as soft as a paw can be.
When we rove the woods for a league about He's as full of pranks as a school let out; For he romps and frisks like a three-months colt, And he runs me down like a thunder-bolt. Oh, the blithest of sights in the world so fair Is a gay little pup with his tail in air!
MY BRINDLE BULL-TERRIER
My brindle bull-terrier, loving and wise, With his little screw-tail and his wonderful eyes, With his white little breast and his white little paws Which, alas! he mistakes very often for claws; With his sad little gait as he comes from the fight When he feels that he hasn't done all that he might; Oh, so fearless of man, yet afraid of a frog, My near little, queer little, dear little dog!
He shivers and shivers and shakes with the cold; He huddles and cuddles, though three summers old. And forsaking the sunshine, endeavors to rove With his cold little worriments under the stove!
At table, his majesty, dying for meat,— Yet never despising a lump that is sweet,— Sits close by my side with his head on my knee And steals every good resolution from me! How can I withhold from those worshipping eyes A small bit of something that stealthily flies Down under the table and into his mouth As I tell my dear neighbor of life in the South.
My near little, queer little, dear little dog, So fearless of man, yet afraid of a frog! The nearest and queerest and dearest of all The race that is loving and winning and small; The sweetest, most faithful, the truest and best Dispenser of merriment, love and unrest!
He was a gash and faithfu' tyke As ever lapt a sheugh or dyke. His honest, sawnsie, bawsint face Aye gat him friends in ilka place. His breast was white, his towsie back Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black. His gawcie tail, wi' upward curl, Hung ower his hurdies wi' a swurl.
THE DROWNED SPANIEL
The day-long bluster of the storm was o'er, The sands were bright; the winds had fallen asleep, And, from the far horizon, o'er the deep The sunset swam unshadowed to the shore.
High up, the rainbow had not passed away, When, roving o'er the shingle beach, I found A little waif, a spaniel newly drowned; The shining waters kissed him as he lay.
In some kind heart thy gentle memory dwells, I said, and, though thy latest aspect tells Of drowning pains and mortal agony, Thy master's self might weep and smile to see His little dog stretched on these rosy shells, Betwixt the rainbow and the rosy sea.
CHARLES TENNYSON TURNER.
THE HUMAN RELATIONSHIP
"A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he can 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. 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."
SENATOR GEORGE GRAHAM VEST.
I am quite sure he thinks that I am God— Since he is God on whom each one depends For life, and all things that his bounty sends— My dear old dog, most constant of all friends;
Not quick to mind, but quicker far than I To him whom God I know and own; his eye, Deep brown and liquid, watches for my nod; He is more patient underneath the rod
Than I, when God his wise corrections sends. He looks love at me deep as words e'er spake, And from me never crumb or sup will take But he wags thanks with his most vocal tail.
And when some crashing noise wakes all his fear He is content and quiet if I'm near, Secure that my protection will prevail!
So, faithful, mindful, thankful, trustful, he Tells me what I unto my God should be.
WILLIAM CROSWELL DOANE.
THE BEST FRIEND
If I was sad, then he had grief, as well— Seeking my hands with soft insistent paw, Searching my face with anxious eyes that saw More than my halting, human speech could tell; Eyes wide with wisdom, fine, compassionate— Dear, loyal one, that knew not wrong nor hate.
If I made merry—then how he would strive To show his joy; "Good master, let's to play, The world is ours," that gladsome bark would say; "Just yours and mine—'tis fun to be alive!" Our world ... four walls above the city's din, My crutch the bar that ever held us in.
Whate'er my mood—the fretful word, or sweet, The swift command, the wheedling undertone, His faith was fixed, his love was mine, alone, His heaven was here at my slow crippled feet: Oh, friend thrice-lost; oh, fond heart unassailed, Ye taught me trust when man's dull logic failed.
MY DOG AND I
When living seems but little worth And all things go awry, I close the door, we journey forth— My dog and I!
For books and pen we leave behind, But little careth he, His one great joy in life is just To be with me.
He notes by just one upward glance My mental attitude, As on we go past laughing stream And singing wood.
The soft winds have a magic touch That brings to care release, The trees are vocal with delight, The rivers sing of peace.
How good it is to be alive! Nature, the healer strong, Has set each pulse with life athrill And joy and song.
Discouragement! 'Twas but a name, And all things that annoy, Out in the lovely world of June Life seemeth only joy!
And ere we reach the busy town, Like birds my troubles fly, We are two comrades glad of heart— My dog and I!
ALICE J. CLEATOR.
I own a dog who is a gentleman; By birth most surely, since the creature can Boast of a pedigree the like of which Holds not a Howard nor a Metternich.
By breeding. Since the walks of life he trod He never wagged an unkind tale abroad, He never snubbed a nameless cur because Without a friend or credit card he was.
By pride. He looks you squarely in the face Unshrinking and without a single trace Of either diffidence or arrogant Assertion such as upstarts often flaunt.
By tenderness. The littlest girl may tear With absolute impunity his hair, And pinch his silken, flowing ears, the while He smiles upon her—yes, I've seen him smile.
By loyalty. No truer friend than he Has come to prove his friendship's worth to me. He does not fear the master—knows no fear— But loves the man who is his master here.
By countenance. If there be nobler eyes, More full of honor and of honesties, In finer head, on broader shoulders found, Then have I never met the man or hound.
Here is the motto on my lifeboat's log: "God grant I may be worthy of my dog!"
THE DEAD BOY'S PORTRAIT AND HIS DOG
Day after day I have come and sat Beseechingly upon the mat, Wistfully wondering where you are at.
Why have they placed you on the wall, So deathly still, so strangely tall? You do not turn from me, nor call.
Why do I never hear my name? Why are you fastened in a frame? You are the same, and not the same.
Away from me why do you stare So far out in the distance where I am not? I am here! Not there!
What has your little doggie done? You used to whistle me to run Beside you, or ahead, for fun!
You used to pat me, and a glow Of pleasure through my life would go! How is it that I shiver so?
My tail was once a waving flag Of welcome. Now I cannot wag It for the weight I have to drag.
I know not what has come to me. 'Tis only in my sleep I see Things smiling as they used to be.
I do not dare to bark; I plead But dumbly, and you never heed; Nor my protection seem to need.
I watch the door, I watch the gate; I am watching early, watching late, Your doggie still!—I watch and wait.
ADVICE TO A DOG PAINTER
Happiest of the spaniel race, Painter, with thy colors grace, Draw his forehead large and high, Draw his blue and humid eye; Draw his neck, so smooth and round, Little neck with ribands bound; And the musely swelling breast Where the Loves and Graces rest; And the spreading, even back, Soft, and sleek, and glossy black; And the tail that gently twines, Like the tendrils of the vines; And the silky twisted hair, Shadowing thick the velvet ear; Velvet ears which, hanging low, O'er the veiny temples flow.
Hast seen The record written of Salah-ud-Deen, The Sultan—how he met, upon a day, In his own city on the public way, A woman whom they led to die? The veil Was stripped from off her weeping face, and pale Her shamed cheeks were, and wild her fixed eye, And her lips drawn with terror at the cry Of the harsh people, and the rugged stones Borne in their hands to break her flesh and bones; For the law stood that sinners such as she Perish by stoning, and this doom must be; So went the adult'ress to her death. High noon it was, and the hot Khamseen's breath Blew from the desert sands and parched the town. The crows gasped, and the kine went up and down With lolling tongues; the camels moaned; a crowd Pressed with their pitchers, wrangling high and loud About the tank; and one dog by a well, Nigh dead with thirst, lay where he yelped and fell, Glaring upon the water out of reach, And praying succour in a silent speech, So piteous were its eyes. Which, when she saw, This woman from her foot her shoe did draw, Albeit death-sorrowful, and, looping up The long silk of her girdle, made a cup Of the heel's hollow, and thus let it sink Until it touched the cool black water's brink; So filled th' embroidered shoe, and gave a draught To the spent beast, which whined, and fawned, and quaffed Her kind gift to the dregs; next licked her hand, With such glad looks that all might understand He held his life from her; then, at her feet He followed close, all down the cruel street, Her one friend in that city. But the King, Riding within his litter, marked this thing, And how the woman, on her way to die Had such compassion for the misery Of that parched hound: "Take off her chain, and place The veil once more about the sinner's face, And lead her to her house in peace!" he said. "The law is that the people stone thee dead For that which thou hast wrought; but there is come Fawning around thy feet a witness dumb, Not heard upon thy trial; this brute beast Testifies for thee, sister! whose weak breast Death could not make ungentle. I hold rule In Allah's stead, who is 'the Merciful,' And hope for mercy; therefore go thou free— I dare not show less pity unto thee."
As we forgive—and more than we— Ya Barr! Good God, show clemency.
SIR EDWIN ARNOLD.
BEAU AND THE WATER LILY
The noon was shady, and soft airs Swept Ouse's silent tide, When 'scaped from literary cares I wandered on his side.
My spaniel, prettiest of his race, And high in pedigree (Two nymphs adorned with every grace That spaniel found for me)
Now wantoned, lost in flags and reeds, Now starting into sight, Pursued the swallow o'er the meads With scarce a slower flight.
It was the time that Ouse displayed His lilies newly blown; Their beauties I intent surveyed, And one I wished my own.
With cane extended far I sought To steer it close to land; But still the prize, though nearly caught, Escaped my eager hand.
Beau marked my unsuccessful pains With fixed, considerate face, And puzzling, set his puppy brains To comprehend the case.
But with a chirrup clear and strong Dispersing all his dream, I thence withdrew, and followed long The windings of the stream.
My ramble ended, I returned; Beau trotting far before The floating wreath again discerned, And, plunging, left the shore.
I saw him, with that lily cropped, Impatient swim to meet My quick approach, and soon he dropped The treasure at my feet.
Charmed with the sight, "The world," I cried, "Shall hear of this thy deed; My dog shall mortify the pride Of man's superior breed:
"But chief myself I will enjoin Awake at duty's call, To show a love as prompt as thine To Him who gives me all."
A dog there was, Petronius by name— A cur of no degree, yet which the same Rejoiced him; because so worthless he That in his worthlessness remarkably He shone, th' example de luxe of how a cur May be the very limit of a slur Upon the honored name of dog; a joke He was, a satire blasphemous; he broke The records all for sheer insulting "bunk;" No dog had ever breathed who was so punk!
And yet that cur, Petronius by name, Enkindled in his master's heart a flame Of love, affection, reverence, so rare That had he been an angel bright and fair The homage paid him had been less; you see The red-haired boy who owned him had a bee— There was no other dog on land or sea. Petronius was solid; he just was The dog, the only dog on earth, because— Because a red-haired boy who likes his dog, He likes that dog so much no other dog Exists—and that, my friends, is loyalty, Than which there is no grander ecstasy.
FREDERIC P. LADD.
Here is a friend who proves his worth Without conceit or pride of birth. Let want or plenty play the host, He gets the least and gives the most— He's just a dog.
He's ever faithful, kind and true; He never questions what I do, And whether I may go or stay, He's always ready to obey 'Cause he's a dog.
Such meager fare his want supplies! A hand caress, and from his eyes There beams more love than mortals know; Meanwhile he wags his tail to show That he's my dog.
He watches me all through the day, And nothing coaxes him away; And through the night-long slumber deep He guards the home wherein I sleep— And he's a dog.
I wonder if I'd be content To follow where my master went, And where he rode—as needs he must— Would I run after in his dust Like other dogs.
How strange if things were quite reversed— The man debased, the dog put first. I often wonder how 'twould be Were he the master 'stead of me— And I the dog.
A world of deep devotion lies Behind the windows of his eyes; Yet love is only half his charm— He'd die to shield my life from harm. Yet he's a dog.
If dogs were fashioned out of men What breed of dog would I have been? And would I e'er deserve caress, Or be extolled for faithfulness Like my dog here?
As mortals go, how few possess Of courage, trust, and faithfulness Enough from which to undertake, Without some borrowed traits, to make A decent dog!
JOSEPH M. ANDERSON.
One evening Jesus lingered in the marketplace, Teaching the people parables of truth and grace, When in the square remote a crowd was seen to rise, And stop with loathing gestures and abhorring cries. The Master and his meek disciples went to see What cause for this commotion and disgust could be, And found a poor dead dog beside the gutter laid— Revolting sight! at which each face its hate betrayed.
One held his nose, one shut his eyes, one turned away, And all among themselves began to say: "Detested creature! he pollutes the earth and air!" "His eyes are blear!" "His ears are foul!" "His ribs are bare!" "In his torn hide there's not a decent shoestring left, No doubt the execrable cur was hung for theft." Then Jesus spake, and dropped on him the saving wreath: "Even pearls are dark before the whiteness of his teeth."
The pelting crowd grew silent and ashamed, like one Rebuked by sight of wisdom higher than his own; And one exclaimed: "No creature so accursed can be But some good thing in him a loving eye will see."
WILLIAM ROUNSEVILLE ALGER.
My dear, dumb friend, low-lying there, A willing vassal at my feet, Glad partner of my home and fare, My shadow in the street,
I look into your great, brown eyes, Where love and loyal homage shine, And wonder where the difference lies Between your soul and mine.
For all of good that I have found Within myself, or human kind, Hath royally informed and crowned Your gentle heart and mind.
I scan the whole broad earth around For that one heart which, leal and true, Bears friendship without end or bound, And find the prize in you.
I trust you as I trust the stars; Nor cruel loss, nor scoff, nor pride, Nor beggary, nor dungeon bars, Can move you from my side.
As patient under injury As any Christian saint of old, As gentle as a lamb with me, But with your brothers bold.
More playful than a frolic boy, More watchful than a sentinel, By day and night your constant joy To guard and please me well.
I clasp your head upon my breast, The while you whine, and lick my hand; And thus our friendship is confessed, And thus we understand.
Ah, Blanco! Did I worship God As truly as you worship me, Or follow where my Master trod With your humility,
Did I sit fondly at His feet, As you, dear Blanco, sit at mine, And watch Him with a love as sweet, My life would grow divine.
THE OULD HOUND
When Shamus made shift wid a turf-hut He'd naught but a hound to his name; And whither he went thrailed the ould friend, Dog-faithful and iver the same!
And he'd gnaw thro' a rope in the night-time, He'd eat thro' a wall or a door, He'd shwim thro' a lough in the winther, To be wid his master wanst more!
And the two, faith, would share their last bannock; They'd share their last collop and bone; And deep in the starin' ould sad eyes Lean Shamus would stare wid his own!
And loose hung the flanks av the ould hound When Shamus lay sick on his bed— Ay, waitin' and watchin' wid sad eyes He'd eat not av bone or av bread!
But Shamus be springtime grew betther, And a trouble came into his mind; And he'd take himself off to the village, And be leavin' his hound behind!
And deep was the whine of the ould dog Wid a love that was deeper than life— But be Michaelmas, faith, it was whispered That Shamus was takin' a wife!
A wife and a fine house he got him; In a shay he went drivin' around; And I met him be chance at the cross-roads, And I says to him, "How's the ould hound?"
"My wife never took to that ould dog," Says he, wid a shrug av his slats, "So we've got us a new dog from Galway, And och, he's the divil for rats!"
THE MISER'S ONLY FRIEND
There watched a cur before the miser's gate— A very cur, whom all men seemed to hate; Gaunt, shaggy, savage, with an eye that shone Like a live coal; and he possessed but one. His bark was wild and eager, and became That meager body and that eye of flame; His master prized him much, and Fang his name, His master fed him largely, but not that Nor aught of kindness made the snarler fat. Flesh he devoured, but not a bit would stay— He barked, and snarled, and growled it all away. His ribs were seen extended like a rack, And coarse red hair hung roughly o'er his back. Lamed in one leg, and bruised in wars of yore, Now his sore body made his temper sore. Such was the friend of him who could not find, Nor make him one, 'mong creatures of his kind. Brave deeds of Fang his master often told, The son of Fury, famed in deeds of old, From Snatch and Rabid sprung; and noted they In earlier times—each dog will have his day.
The notes of Fang were to his master known And dear—they bore some likeness to his own; For both conveyed, to the experienced ear, "I snarl and bite because I hate and fear." None passed ungreeted by the master's door, Fang railed at all, but chiefly at the poor; And when the nights were stormy, cold and dark, The act of Fang was a perpetual bark. But though the master loved the growl of Fang There were who vowed the ugly cur to hang, Whose angry master, watchful for his friend, As strongly vowed his servant to defend.
In one dark night, and such as Fang before Was ever known its tempests to outroar, To his protector's wonder now expressed, No angry notes—his anger was at rest. The wond'ring master sought the silent yard, Left Phoebe sleeping, and his door unbarred, Nor more returned to that forsaken bed— But lo! the morning came, and he was dead. Fang and his master side by side were laid In grim repose—their debt to nature paid. The master's hand upon the cur's cold chest Was now reclined, and had before been pressed, As if he sought how deep and wide the wound That laid such spirit in a sleep so sound; And when he found it was the sleep of death A sympathizing sorrow stopped his breath. Close to his trusty servant he was found, As cold his body, and his sleep as sound.
POOR DOG TRAY
On the green banks of Shannon, when Sheelah was nigh, No blithe Irish lad was as happy as I; No harp like my own could so cheerily play, And wherever I went was my poor dog Tray.
When at last I was forced from my Sheelah to part, She said (while the sorrow was big at her heart) "Oh, remember your Sheelah when far, far away, And be kind, my dear Pat, to our poor dog Tray."
Poor dog! he was faithful and kind, to be sure, And he constantly loved me, although I was poor; When the sour-looking folks sent me heartless away, I had always a friend in my poor dog Tray.
When the road was so dark, and the night was so cold, And Pat and his dog were grown weary and old, How snugly we slept in my old coat of gray, And he licked me for kindness—my poor dog Tray.
Though my wallet was scant, I remembered his case, Nor refused my last crust to his pitiful face; But he died at my feet on a cold winter's day, And I played a lament for my poor dog Tray.
Where now shall I go, poor, forsaken and blind? Can I find one to guide me so faithful and kind? To my sweet native village, so far, far away, I can ne'er more return with my poor dog Tray.
The world had all gone wrong that day And tired and in despair, Discouraged with the ways of life, I sank into my chair.
A soft caress fell on my cheek, My hands were thrust apart. And two big sympathizing eyes Gazed down into my heart.
I had a friend; what cared I now For fifty worlds? I knew One heart was anxious when I grieved— My dog's heart, loyal, true.
"God bless him," breathed I soft and low, And hugged him close and tight. One lingering lick upon my ear And we were happy—quite.
THE LITTLE WHITE DOG
Little white dog with the meek brown eyes, Tell me the boon that most you prize. Would a juicy bone meet your heart's desire? Or a cozy rug by a blazing fire? Or a sudden race with a truant cat? Or a gentle word? Or a friendly pat? Is the worn-out ball you have always near The dearest of all the things held dear? Or is the home you left behind The dream of bliss to your doggish mind? But the little white dog just shook his head As if "None of these are best," he said.
A boy's clear whistle came from the street; There's a wag of the tail and a twinkle of feet, And the little white dog did not even say, "Excuse me, ma'am," as he scampered away; But I'm sure as can be his greatest joy Is just to trot behind that boy.
MAY ELLIS NICHOLS.
THE IRISH GREYHOUND
Behold this creature's form and state; Which nature therefore did create, That to the world might be exprest What mien there can be in a beast; And that we in this shape may find A lion of another kind. For this heroic beast does seem In majesty to rival him, And yet vouchsafes to man to show Both service and submission, too. From whence we this distinction have, That beast is fierce, but this is brave. This dog hath so himself subdued That hunger cannot make him rude, And his behavior does confess True courage dwells with gentleness. With sternest wolves he dares engage, And acts on them successful rage. Yet too much courtesy may chance To put him out of countenance. When in his opposer's blood Fortune hath made his virtue good, This creature from an act so brave Grows not more sullen, but more brave. Man's guard he would be, not his sport, Believing he hath ventured for't; But yet no blood, or shed or spent, Can ever make him insolent. Few men of him to do great things have learned, And when they're done to be so unconcerned.
We are two travellers, Roger and I. Roger's my dog.—Come here, you scamp! Jump for the gentleman,—mind your eye! Over the table,—look out for the lamp! The rogue is growing a little old; Five years we've tramped through wind and weather, And slept out-doors when nights were cold, And ate and drank—and starved—together.
We've learned what comfort is, I tell you! A bed on the floor, a bit of rosin, A fire to thaw our thumbs (poor fellow! The paw he holds up there's been frozen), Plenty of catgut for my fiddle (This out-door business is bad for strings), Then a few nice buckwheats hot from the griddle, And Roger and I set up for kings!
No, thank ye, Sir,—I never drink; Roger and I are exceedingly moral,— Aren't we, Roger?—See him wink!— Well, something hot, then,—we won't quarrel. He's thirsty, too,—see him nod his head? What a pity, Sir, that dogs can't talk! He understands every word that's said,— And he knows good milk from water-and-chalk.
The truth is, Sir, now I reflect, I've been so sadly given to grog, I wonder I've not lost the respect (Here's to you, Sir!) even of my dog. But he sticks by, through thick and thin; And this old coat with its empty pockets, And rags that smell of tobacco and gin, He'll follow while he has eyes in his sockets.
There isn't another creature living Would do it, and prove, through every disaster, So fond, so faithful, and so forgiving, To such a miserable, thankless master! No, Sir!—see him wag his tail and grin! By George! it makes my old eyes water! That is, there's something in this gin That chokes a fellow. But no matter!
We'll have some music, if you're willing, And Roger (hem! what a plague a cough is, Sir!) Shall march a little—Start, you villain! Paws up! Eyes front! Salute your officer! 'Bout face! Attention! Take your rifle! (Some dogs have arms, you see!) Now hold your Cap while the gentlemen give a trifle, To aid a poor old patriot soldier!
March! Halt! Now show how the rebel shakes When he stands up to hear his sentence. Now tell us how many drams it takes To honor a jolly new acquaintance. Five yelps,—that's five; he's mighty knowing! The night's before us, fill the glasses!— Quick, Sir! I'm ill,—my brain is going!— Some brandy,—thank you,—there!—it passes!
Why not reform? That's easily said; But I've gone through such wretched treatment, Sometimes forgetting the taste of bread, And scarce remembering what meat meant, That my poor stomach's past reform; And there are times when, mad with thinking, I'd sell out heaven for something warm To prop a horrible inward sinking.
Is there a way to forget to think? At your age, Sir, home, fortune, friends, A dear girl's love,—but I took to drink,— The same old story; you know how it ends. If you could have seen these classic features,— You needn't laugh, Sir; they were not then Such a burning libel on God's creatures: I was one of your handsome men!
If you had seen her, so fair and young, Whose head was happy on this breast! If you could have heard the songs I sung When the wine went round, you wouldn't have guessed That ever I, Sir, should be straying From door to door, with fiddle and dog, Ragged and penniless, and playing To you to-night for a glass of grog!
She's married since,—a parson's wife: 'Twas better for her that we should part,— Better the soberest, prosiest life Than a blasted home and a broken heart. I have seen her? Once: I was weak and spent On the dusty road: a carriage stopped: But little she dreamed, as on she went, Who kissed the coin that her fingers dropped!
You've set me talking, Sir; I'm sorry: It makes me wild to think of the change! What do you care for a beggar's story? Is it amusing? You find it strange? I had a mother so proud of me! 'Twas well she died before.—Do you know If the happy spirits in heaven can see The ruin and wretchedness here below?
Another glass, and strong, to deaden This pain; then Roger and I will start. I wonder, has he such a lumpish, leaden, Aching thing in place of a heart? He is sad sometimes, and would weep, if he could, No doubt remembering things that were,— A virtuous kennel, with plenty of food, And himself a sober, respectable cur.
I'm better now; that glass was warming.— You rascal! limber your lazy feet! We must be fiddling and performing For supper and bed, or starve in the street.— Not a very gay life to lead, you think? But soon we shall go where lodgings are free, And the sleepers need neither victuals nor drink:— The sooner, the better for Roger and me!
Thou dogged Cineas, hated like a dog, For still thou grumblest like a masty dog, Compar'st thyself to nothing but a dog; Thou say'st thou art as weary as a dog, As angry, sick, and hungry as a dog, As dull and melancholy as a dog, As lazy, sleepy, idle as a dog. But why dost thou compare thee to a dog In that for which all men despise a dog? I will compare thee better to a dog; Thou art as fair and comely as a dog, Thou art as true and honest as a dog, Thou art as kind and liberal as a dog, Thou art as wise and valiant as a dog, But, Cineas, I have often heard thee tell Thou art as like thy father as may be: 'Tis like enough; and, faith, I like it well; But I am glad thou art not like to me.
SIR JOHN DAVIES.
OLD MATTHEW'S DOG
I am only a dog, and I've had my day; So, idle and dreaming, stretched out I lay In the welcome warmth of the summer sun, A poor old hunter whose work is done.
Dream? Yes, indeed; though I am but a dog. Don't I dream of the partridge I sprung by the log? Of the quivering hare and her desperate flight, Of the nimble gray squirrel secure in his height,
Far away in the top of the hickory tree, Looking down safe and saucy at Matthew and me, Till the hand, true and steady, a messenger shot, And the creature upbounded, and fell, and was not?
Old Matthew was king of the wood-rangers then; And the quails in the stubble, the ducks in the fen, The hare on the common, the birds on the bough, Were afraid. They are safe enough now,
For all we can harm them, old master and I. We have had our last hunt, the game must go by, While Matthew sits fashioning bows in the door, For a living. We'll never hunt more.
For time, cold and hardship have stiffened his knee, And since little Lottie died, often I see His hands tremble sorely, and go to his eyes, For the lost baby daughter, so pretty and wise.
Oh, it's sad to be old, and to see the blue sky Look far away to the dim, fading eye; To feel the fleet foot growing weary and sore That in forest and hamlet shall lag evermore.
I am going—I hear the great wolf on my track; Already around me his shadow falls black. One hunting cry more! Oh, master, come nigh, And lay the white paw in your own as I die!
Oh, come to me, master; the last hedge is passed— Our tramps in the wildwood are over at last; Stoop lower, and lay my head on your knee. What! Tears for a useless old hunter like me?
You will see little Lottie again by and by. I shan't. They don't have any dogs in the sky. Tell her, loving and trusty, beside you I died, And—bury me, master, not far from her side.
For we loved little Lottie so well, you and I. Ha, master, the shadow! Fire low—it is nigh— There was never a sound in the still morning heard, But the heart of the hunter his old jacket stirred.
As he flung himself down on the brute's shaggy coat, And watched the faint life in its quivering throat Till it stopped quite at last. The black wolf had won, And the death-hunted hound into cover had run.
But long ere the snow over graves softly fell, Old Matthew was resting from labor as well; While the cottage stood empty, yet back from the hill The voice of the hound in the morn echoed still.
A DOG AND A MAN
He was a dog, But he stayed at home And guarded the family night and day. He was a dog That didn't roam. He lay on the porch or chased the stray— The tramps, the burglar, the hen, away; For a dog's true heart for that household beat At morning and evening, in cold and heat. He was a dog.
He was a man, And didn't stay To cherish his wife and his children fair. He was a man. And every day His heart grew callous, its love-beats rare, He thought of himself at the close of day, And, cigar in his fingers, hurried away To the club, the lodge, the store, the show. But—he had a right to go, you know. He was a man.
Old Rover-Dog, he toasts his toes Right by th' chimney-fire wif me. I turned his long ear wrong side out An' he was s'rprised as he could be! An' nen he reached right out an' took An' int'rest in my lolly-pop— That's w'y I shook my finger hard At him, 'cause he jus' better stop.
I ast him which his sweet toof was, An' he jus' laffed an' showed me where He keeps um, up an' down his mouf— (I guess there's mos' a hundred there). He's got a cunning little house, But you can't climb right in, at all— Ain't hardly big enough for him; I guess it is a size too small.
'Cause when he is "at home" his head Stays looking out of his front door; His paws hang out convenient like, So's folks they will shake hands some more. Old Rover-Dog, w'en he likes folks, He thumps th' floor hard wif his tail— Where 'tis you've heard that sound before Is w'en your pa, he drives a nail.
One time my Uncle Fred p'tend He's "tramp-mans" an' will come right in; I put my ear on Rover's back So's I could hear th' growl begin. An' oncet he thought he'd try his nap Right in my grampa's big armchair. My grampa, he sat down on him, 'Cause "he wa'n't 'spectin' dogs was there."
'N Rover walked off dignified An' curled his back up 'gainst th' wall— If grampas ain't got manners, w'y, He isn't goin' to care at all. That's w'y I went an' 'xplained to him How grampas, they ain't imperlite, A grampa has th' bestest chair Because his hair is very white.
Nen Rover-Dog raise up one ear An' lift his nose fum off his paw, An' say his feelin's aren't all hurt If that was candy that he saw! 'N w'en he'd et my choc'late cream He went an' finished up his dream.
MARIE LOUISE TOMPKINS.
HORSE, DOG AND MAN
The horse and the dog had tamed a man and fastened him to a fence: Said the horse to the dog: "For the life of me, I don't see a bit of sense In letting him have the thumbs that grow at the sides of his hands. Do you?" And the dog looked solemn and shook his head, and said: "I'm a goat if I do!"
The poor man groaned and tried to get loose, and sadly he begged them, "Stay! You will rob me of things for which I have use by cutting my thumbs away! You will spoil my looks, you will cause me pain; ah, why would you treat me so? As I am, God made me, and He knows best! Oh, masters, pray let me go!"
The dog laughed out, and the horse replied, "Oh, the cutting won't hurt you, see? We'll have a hot iron to clap right on, as you did in your docking of me! God gave you your thumbs and all, but still, the Creator, you know, may fail To do the artistic thing, as he did in the furnishing me with a tail."
So they bound the man and cut off his thumbs, and were deaf to his pitiful cries, And they seared the stumps, and they viewed their work through happy and dazzled eyes. "How trim he appears," the horse exclaimed, "since his awkward thumbs are gone! For the life of me I cannot see why the Lord ever put them on!"
"Still it seems to me," the dog replied, "that there's something else to do; His ears look rather too long for me, and how do they look to you?" The man cried out: "Oh, spare my ears! God fashioned them as you see, And if you apply your knife to them, you'll surely disfigure me."
"But you didn't disfigure me, you know," the dog decisively said, "When you bound me fast and trimmed my ears down close to the top of my head!" So they let him moan and they let him groan while they cropped his ears away, And they praised his looks when they let him up, and proud indeed were they.
But that was years and years ago, in an unenlightened age! Such things are ended, now, you know; we've reached a higher stage. The ears and thumbs God gave to man are his to keep and wear, And the cruel horse and dog look on, and never appear to care.
THE BEST DOG
Yes, I went to see the bow-wows, and I looked at every one, Proud dogs of each breed and strain that's underneath the sun; But not one could compare with—you may hear it with surprise— A little yellow dog I know that never took a prize.
Not that they would have skipped him when they gave the ribbons out, Had there been a class to fit him—though his lineage is in doubt. No judge of dogs could e'er resist the honest, faithful eyes Of that plain little yellow dog that never took a prize.
Suppose he wasn't trained to hunt, and never killed a rat, And isn't much on tricks or looks or birth—well, what of that? That might be said of lots of folks whom men call great and wise, As well as of that yellow dog that never took a prize.
It isn't what a dog can do, or what a dog may be, That hits a man. It's simply this—does he believe in me? And by that test I know there's not the compeer 'neath the skies Of that plain little yellow dog that never took a prize.
Oh, he's the finest little pup that ever wagged a tail, And followed man with equal joy to Congress or to jail. I'm going to start a special show—'Twill beat the world for size— For faithful little yellow dogs, and each shall have a prize.
CAESAR, KING EDWARD'S DOG
No deeper, truer love could spring Spontaneously from human breast Than Caesar's, who has loved the king With all a dear dog's silent zest.
A dog's dumb way may not impart The grief that mortals can express, But who shall say that Caesar's heart Mourns his beloved king the less?
Since ours the faith, "Love lives in space," His love, whene'er his soul takes wing, May be ordained, by Heaven's grace, To reach the spirit of the king.
JUST OUR DOG
He was just a dog, mister—that's all; And all of us boys called him Bub; He was curly and not very tall And he hadn't a tail—just a stub. His tail froze one cold night, you see; We just pulled the rest of him through. No—he didn't have much pedigree— Perhaps that was frozen off, too.
He always seemed quite well behaved, And he never had many bad fights; In summer he used to be shaved And he slept in the woodshed o' nights. Sometimes he would wake up too soon And cry, if his tail got a chill; Some nights he would bark at the moon, But some nights he would sleep very still.
He knew how to play hide-and-seek And he always would come when you'd call; He would play dead, roll over and speak, And learned it in no time at all. Sometimes he would growl, just in play, But he never would bite, and his worst Was to bark at the postman one day, But the postman, he barked at him first.
He used to chase cats up a tree, But that was just only in fun; And a cat was as safe as could be— Unless it should start out to run; Sometimes he'd chase children and throw Them down, just while running along, And then lick their faces to show He didn't mean anything wrong.
He was chasing an automobile When the wheel hit him right in the side, So he just gave a queer little squeal And curled up and stretched out and died. His tail it was not very long, He was curly and not very tall; But he never did anything wrong— He was just our dog, mister—that's all.
I have still a vision of him Ragged Rover, as he lay In the sunshine of the morning On the door-stone worn and gray; Where the honeysuckle trellis Hung its tinted blossoms low, And the well-sweep with its bucket Swung its burden to and fro; Where the maples were a-quiver In the pleasant June-time breeze; And where droned among the phloxes Half a hundred golden bees.
Yes, I have a vision with me Of a home upon a hill; And my heart is sad with longing And my eyes with tear-drops fill. I would be the care-free urchin That I was so long ago When across the sun-lit meadows Rover with me used to go Yonder where the graceful lindens Threw their shadows far and cool, And the waters waited for me In the brimming swimming pool.
I can see him drive the cattle From the pasture through the lane With their mellow bells a-tinkle, Sending out a low refrain; I can see him drive them homeward, Speckle, Brindle, Bess and Belle; All the herd from down the valley As the shades of even fell. Thus, I wander like a pilgrim— Slow the steps that once were strong; Back to greet him, Ragged Rover, And my childhood's ceaseless song.
LESLIE CLARE MANCHESTER.
TO FLUSH, MY DOG
Loving friend, the gift of one Who her own true faith has run Through thy lower nature, Be my benediction said With my hand upon thy head, Gentle fellow-creature!
Like a lady's ringlets brown, Flow thy silken ears adown Either side demurely Of thy silver-suited breast, Shining out from all the rest Of thy body purely.
Darkly brown thy body is, Till the sunshine striking this Alchemize its dulness, When the sleek curls manifold Flash all over into gold With a burnished fulness.
Underneath my stroking hand. Startled eyes of hazel bland Kindling, growing larger, Up thou leanest with a spring, Full of prank and curvetting, Leaping like a charger.
Leap! thy broad tail waves a light, Leap! thy slender feet are bright, Canopied in fringes; Leap! those tasselled ears of thine Flicker strangely, fair and fine Down their gold inches.
Yet, my pretty sportive friend, Little is't to such an end That I praise thy rareness: Other dogs may be thy peers Happy 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 space, 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.
This dog, if a friendly voice Call him now to blither choice Than such chamber-keeping, "Come out!" praying from the door, Presseth backward as before, Up against me leaping.
Therefore to this dog will I, Tenderly, not scornfully, Render praise and favor: With my hand upon his head, Is my benediction said Therefore and forever.
And because he loves me so, Better than his kind will do Often man or woman, Give I back more love again Than dogs often take of men, Leaning from my human.
Blessings on thee, dog of mine, Pretty collars make thee fine, Sugared milk may fat thee! Pleasures wag on in thy tail, Hands of gentle motion fail Nevermore to pat thee!
Downy pillow take thy head, Silken coverlet bestead, Sunshine help thy sleeping! No fly's buzzing wake thee up, No man break thy purple cup Set for drinking deep in!
Whiskered cats aroynted flee, Sturdy stoppers keep from thee Cologne distillations; Nuts lie in thy path for stones, And thy feast-day macaroons Turn to daily rations!
Mock I thee, in wishing weal? Tears are in my eyes to feel Thou art made so straitly: Blessings need must straiten too,— Little canst thou joy or do Thou who lovest greatly.
Yet be blessed to the height Of all good and all delight Pervious to thy nature; Only loved beyond that line, With a love that answers thine, Loving fellow-creature!
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
You were a friend, Frances, a friend, With feeling and regard and capable of woe. Oh, yes, I know you were a dog, but I was just a man. I did not buy you; no, you simply came, Lost, and squatted on my doorstep. The place was strange—you quivered, but stayed on, And I had need of you. No other fellow could make you follow him, For you had chosen me to be your pal. My whistle was your law, You put your paw Upon my palm, And in your calm, deep eyes was writ The promise of long comradeship. When I came home from work, Late and ill-tempered, Always I heard the patter of your feet upon the oaken stairs; Your nose was at the door-crack; And whether I'd been bad or good that day You fawned, and loved me just the same. It was your way to understand. And if I struck you, my harsh hand Was met with your caresses. You took my leavings, crumb and bone, And stuck by me through thick and thin— You were my kin. And then one day you died And were put deep. But though you sleep, and ever sleep, I sense you at my heels.
TO MY SETTER, SCOUT
You are a tried and loyal friend; The end Of life will find you leal, unweary Of tested bonds that naught can rend, And e'en if years be sad and dreary, Our plighted friendship will extend.
A truer friend man never had; 'Tis sad That 'mongst all earthly friends the fewest Unfaithful ones should thus be clad In canine lowliness; yet truest They, be their treatment good or bad.
Within your eyes methinks I find A kind And thoughtful look of speechless feeling That mem'ry's loosened cords unbind, And let the dreamy past come stealing Through your dumb, reflective mind.
Scout, my trusty friend, can it be You see Again, in retrospective dreaming, The run, the woodland, and the lea, With past autumnal sunshine streaming O'er ev'ry frost-dyed field and tree?
Or do you see now once again The glen And fern, the highland, and the thistle? And do you still remember when We heard the bright-eyed woodcock whistle Down by the rippling, shrub-edged fen?
I see you turn a listening ear To hear The quail upon the flower-pied heather; But, doggie, wait till uplands sere, And then the autumn's waning weather Will bring the sport we hold so dear.
Then we will hunt the loamy swale And trail The snipe, their cunning wiles o'ercoming; And oft will flush the bevied quail, And hear the partridge slowly drumming Dull echoes in the leaf-strewn dale.
When wooded hills with crimson light Are bright, We'll stroll where trees and vines are growing, And see birds warp their southern flight At sundown, when the Day King's throwing Sly kisses to the Queen of Night.
FRANK H. SELDEN.
WHY STRIK'ST THOU ME?
Why dost thou strike me?—Ever faithful In service to thee do I live; And often when thou wert in peril My very utmost would I give; My life I would lay down for thee! Why strik'st thou me?
In blustering storm and cruel Winter, In murky night or through the day, Obedient I have trotted by thee And guarded thee along the way. I've watched thee and protected thee: Why strik'st thou me?
When flashed the robber's steel against thee, When thou wert threatened by his arm, And thou didst call for aid and rescue, Who saved thee then from mortal harm? My blood flowed on the sand for thee: Why strik'st thou me?
When down the sheer walls of the chasm That glooms the torrent thou didst slide, Thou there had perished maimed and helpless Had I not sought thee far and wide. Myself forgetting, sought I thee: Why strik'st thou me?
When on the furious billows drifting Thou heldest up a beckoning hand, And no man dared attempt to save thee, I brought thee safely to the land. From certain death I rescued thee: Why strik'st thou me?
Oh doom me not to starve and perish; The poor old Sultan do not slay! For thee, too, will the days soon darken In which thy strength will fade away. Then thou wilt beg as I beg thee:— Why strik'st thou me?
NATHAN HASKELL DOLE (Translator).
Full dismal blows the wind Without my cabin, here, And many times I find Myself possessed of fear.
I often hear a sound As if a stranger tried To enter here, but found The door made fast inside.
The nights are filled with dread, And fancy even scrolls Gray visions of the dead— Ghosts of departed souls.
But never near me creeps What fancy oft invites. My dog a vigil keeps Throughout the awful nights.
HOWARD C. KEGLEY.
When wise Ulysses, from his native coast Long kept by wars, and long by tempests tost, Arrived at last—poor, old, despised, alone, To all his friends, and e'en his queen, unknown, Changed as he was, with age, and toils, and cares, Furrowed his rev'rend face, and white his hairs, In his own palace forced to ask his bread, Scorned by those slaves his former bounty fed, Forgot of all his own domestic crew, His faithful dog his rightful master knew!
Unfed, unhoused, neglected, on the clay Like an old servant, now cashiered, he lay; And though ev'n then expiring on the plain, Touched with resentment of ungrateful man, And longing to behold his ancient lord again, Him when he saw, he rose, and crawled to meet ('Twas all he could), and fawned, and kissed his feet, Seized with dumb joy; then falling by his side, Owned his returning lord, looked up, and died.
CHAINED IN THE YARD
'Twas only a dog in a kennel And little noise he made, But it seemed to me as I heard it I knew what that old dog said.
"Another long month to get over; Will nobody loosen my chain? Just for a run 'round the meadow, Then fasten me up again.
"Give me my old life of freedom, Give me a plunge and a swim, A dash and a dive in the river, A shake and a splash on the brim."
I patted his head and spoke kindly, I thought that his case was hard, Oh, give him a run in the open, Your dog chained up in the yard!
WHY THE DOG'S NOSE IS COLD
"What makes the dog's nose always cold?" I'll try to tell you, curls of gold, If you will sit upon my knee And very good and quiet be.
Well, years and years and years ago— How many I don't really know— There came a rain on sea and shore; Its like was never seen before Or since. It fell unceasing down Till all the world began to drown.
But just before it down did pour, An old, old man—his name was Noah— Built him an ark, that he might save His family from a watery grave; And in it also he designed To shelter two of every kind Of beast. Well, dear, when it was done, And heavy clouds obscured the sun, The Noah folks to it quickly ran, And then the animals began To gravely march along in pairs.
The leopards, tigers, wolves and bears, The deer, the hippopotamuses, The rabbits, squirrels, elks, walruses, The camels, goats, and cats, and donkeys, The tall giraffes, the beavers, monkeys, The rats, the big rhinoceroses, The dromedaries and the horses, The sheep, the mice, the kangaroos, Hyenas, elephants, koodoos, And many more—'twould take all day, My dear, the very names to say— And at the very, very end Of the procession, by his friend And master, faithful dog was seen.
The lifelong time he'd helping been To drive the crowd of creatures in; And now, with loud, exultant bark, He gayly sprang aboard the bark.
Alas! So crowded was the space He could not in it find a place; So, patiently, he turned about,— Stood half-way in, and half-way out, And those extremely heavy showers Descended through nine hundred hours And more; and, darling, at their close Most frozen was his honest nose; And never could it lose again The dampness of that dreadful rain.
And that is what, my curls of gold, Made all the doggies' noses cold.
Our Towser is the finest dog that ever wore a collar, We wouldn't sell him—no, indeed—not even for a dollar! I understand his language now, 'cause honest, it appears That dogs can talk, and say a lot, with just their tails and ears.
When I come home from school he meets me with a joyous bound, And shakes that long tail sideways, down and up, and round and round. Pa says he's going to hang a rug beside the door to see If Towser will not beat it while he's busy greeting me.
Then when he sees me get my hat, but thinks he cannot go, His ears get limp, his tail drops down, and he just walks off—slow; Though if I say the magic words: "Well, Towser, want to come?" Why, say! You'd know he answered "Yes," although at speech he's dumb.
MARION HOVEY BRIGGS.
A DOG'S LOYALTY
Many a good And useful quality, and virtue, too. Attachment never to be weaned or changed By any change of fortune; proof alike Against unkindness, absence, and neglect; Fidelity that neither bribe nor threat Can move or warp; and gratitude for small And trivial favors lasting as the life, And glistening even in the dying eye.
THE DOG IN ACTION
_Course, hunt, in hills, in valley or in plain— He joys to run and stretch out every limb, To please but thee he spareth for no pain, His hurt (for thee) is greatest good to him.
In fields abroad he looks unto thy flocks, Keeping them safe from wolves and other beasts; And oftentimes he bears away the knocks Of some odd thief that many a fold infests._
TOLD TO THE MISSIONARY
Just look 'ee here, Mr. Preacher, you're a-goin' a bit too fur; There isn't the man as is livin' as I'd let say a word agen her. She's a rum-lookin' bitch, that I own to, and there is a fierce look in her eyes, But if any cove says as she's vicious, I sez in his teeth he lies. Soh! Gently, old 'ooman; come here, now, and set by my side on the bed; I wonder who'll have yer, my beauty, when him as you're all to 's dead. There, stow yer palaver a minit; I knows as my end is nigh; Is a cove to turn round on his dog, like, just 'cos he's goin' to die?
Oh, of course, I was sartin you'd say it. It's allus the same with you. Give it us straight, now, guv'nor—what would you have me do? Think of my soul? I do, sir. Think of my Saviour? Right! Don't be afeard of the bitch, sir; she's not a-goin' to bite. Tell me about my Saviour—tell me that tale agen, How he prayed for the coves as killed him, and died for the worst of men. It's a tale as I always liked, sir; and bound for the 'ternal shore, I thinks it aloud to myself, sir, and I likes it more and more.
I've thumbed it out in the Bible, and I know it now by heart, And it's put the steam in my boiler, and made me ready to start. I ain't not afraid to die now; I've been a bit bad in my day, But I know when I knock at them portals there's one as won't say me nay. And it's thinkin' about that story, and all as he did for us, As make me so fond o' my dawg, sir; especially now I'm wus; For a-savin' o' folks who'd kill us is a beautiful act, the which I never heard tell on o' no one, 'cept o' him and o' that there bitch.
'Twas five years ago come Chrismus, maybe you remember the row, There was scares about hydryphoby—same as there be just now; And the bobbies came down on us costers—came in a reggerlar wax, And them as 'ud got no license was summerned to pay the tax. But I had a friend among 'em, and he come in a friendly way, And he sez, 'You must settle your dawg, Bill, unless you've a mind to pay.' The missus was dyin' wi' fever—I'd made a mistake in my pitch, I couldn't afford to keep her, so I sez, 'I'll drownd the bitch.'
I wasn't a-goin' to lose her, I warn't such a brute, you bet, As to leave her to die by inches o' hunger, and cold, and wet; I never said now't to the missus—we both on us liked her well— But I takes her the follerin' Sunday down to the Grand Canell. I gets her tight by the collar—the Lord forgive my sin! And, kneelin' down on the towpath, I ducks the poor beast in. She gave just a sudden whine like, then a look comes into her eyes As 'ull last forever in mine, sir, up to the day I dies.
And a chill came over my heart then, and thinkin' I heard her moan, I held her below the water, beating her skull with a stone. You can see the mark of it now, sir—that place on the top of 'er 'ed— And sudden she ceased to struggle, and I fancied as she was dead. I shall never know how it happened, but goin' to lose my hold, My knees slipped over the towpath, and into the stream I rolled; Down like a log I went, sir, and my eyes were filled with mud, And the water was tinged above me with a murdered creeter's blood.
I gave myself up for lost then, and I cursed in my wild despair, And sudden I rose to the surfis, and a su'thing grabbed at my hair, Grabbed at my hair and loosed it, and grabbed me agin by the throat, And she was a-holdin' my 'ed up, and somehow I kep' afloat. I can't tell yer 'ow she done it, for I never knowed no more Till somebody seized my collar, and give me a lug ashore; And my head was queer and dizzy, but I see as the bitch was weak, And she lay on her side a-pantin', waitin' for me to speak.
What did I do with her, eh? You'd a-hardly need to ax, But I sold my barrer a Monday, and paid the bloomin' tax.
That's right, Mr. Preacher, pat her—you ain't not afeared of her now!— Dang this here tellin' of stories—look at the muck on my brow.
I'm weaker, an' weaker, an' weaker; I fancy the end ain't fur, But you know why here on my deathbed I think o' the Lord and her, And he who, by men's hands tortured, uttered that prayer divine, 'Ull pardon me linkin' him like with a dawg as forgave like mine. When the Lord in his mercy calls me to my last eternal pitch, I know as you'll treat her kindly—promise to take my bitch!
GEORGE R. SIMS.
THE DOG OF THE LOUVRE
With gentle tread, with uncovered head, Pass by the Louvre gate, Where buried lie the "men of July," And flowers are hung by the passers-by, And the dog howls desolate.
That dog had fought in the fierce onslaught, Had rushed with his master on, And both fought well; But the master fell, And behold the surviving one!
By his lifeless clay, Shaggy and gray, His fellow-warrior stood; Nor moved beyond, But mingled fond Big tears with his master's blood.
Vigil he keeps By those green heaps That tell where heroes lie. No passer-by Can attract his eye, For he knows it is not He!
At the dawn, when dew Wets the garlands new That are hung in this place of mourning, He will start to meet The coming feet Of him whom he dreamt returning.
On the grave's wood-cross When the chaplets toss, By the blast of midnight shaken, How he howleth! hark! From that dwelling dark The slain he would fain awaken.
When the snow comes fast On the chilly blast, Blanching the bleak church-yard, With limbs outspread On the dismal bed Of his liege, he still keeps guard.
Oft in the night, With main and might, He strives to raise the stone; Short respite takes: "If master wakes, He'll call me," then sleeps on.
Of bayonet blades, Of barricades, And guns he dreams the most; Starts from his dream, And then would seem To eye a pleading ghost.
He'll linger there In sad despair And die on his master's grave. His home?—'tis known To the dead alone,— He's the dog of the nameless brave!
Give a tear to the dead, And give some bread To the dog of the Louvre gate! Where buried lie the men of July, And flowers are hung by the passers-by, And the dog howls desolate.
Huntsman, take heed; they stop in full career. Yon crowding flock, that at a distance gaze, Have haply foil'd the turf. See that old hound! How busily he works, but dares not trust His doubtful sense; draws yet a wider ring. Hark! Now again the chorus fills. As bells, Sally'd awhile, at once their paean renew, And high in air the tuneful thunder rolls, See how they toss, with animated rage Recovering all they lost! That eager haste Some doubling wile foreshows. Ah! Yet once more
They're checked, hold back with speed—on either hand They flourish round—e'en yet persist—'tis right. Away they spring. The rustling stubbles bend Beneath the driving storm. Now the poor chase Begins to flag, to her last shifts reduced. From brake to brake she flies, and visits all Her well-known haunts, where once she ranged secure, With love and plenty blest. See! There she goes, She reels along, and by her gait betrays Her inward weakness. See how black she looks! The sweat, that clogs the obstructed pores, scarce leaves A languid scent. And now in open view See! See! She flies! Each eager hound exerts His utmost speed, and stretches every nerve; How quick she turns! Their gaping jaws eludes, And yet a moment lives—till, round enclosed By all the greedy pack, with infant screams She yields her breath, and there, reluctant, dies.
THE UNDER DOG
I know that the world, the great big world, Will never a moment stop To see which dog may be in the fault, But will shout for the dog on top. But for me, I shall never pause to ask Which dog may be in the right, For my heart will beat, while it beats at all, For the under dog in the fight.
THE SHEPHERD AND HIS DOG
My dog and I are both grown old; On these wild downs we watch all day; He looks in my face when the wind blows cold, And thus methinks I hear him say:
The gray stone circlet is below, The village smoke is at our feet; We nothing hear but the sailing crow, And wandering flocks that roam and bleat.
Far off, the early horseman hies, In shower or sunshine rushing on; Yonder the dusty whirlwind flies; The distant coach is seen and gone.
Though solitude around is spread, Master, alone thou shalt not be; And when the turf is on thy head, I only shall remember thee.
I marked his look of faithful care, I placed my hand on his shaggy side; "There is a sun that shines above, A sun that shines on both," I cried.
WILLIAM LISLE BOWLES.
The spearman heard the bugle sound, And cheerily smiled the morn; And many a brach, and many a hound, Attend Llewellyn's horn:
And still he blew a louder blast, And gave a louder cheer: "Come, Gelert! Why art thou the last Llewellyn's horn to hear?
"Oh, where does faithful Gelert roam? The flower of all his race! So true, so brave, a lamb at home, A lion in the chase!"
In sooth, he was a peerless hound, The gift of royal John, But now no Gelert could be found, And all the chase rode on.
And now, as over rocks and dells, The gallant chidings rise, All Snowdon's craggy chaos yells With many mingled cries.
That day Llewellyn little loved The chase of hart or hare, And small and scant the booty proved, For Gelert was not there.
Unpleased, Llewellyn homeward hied, When near the portal-seat, His truant Gelert he espied, Bounding his lord to meet.
But when he gained the castle door, Aghast the chieftain stood; The hound was smeared with gouts of gore, His lips and fangs ran blood.
Llewellyn gazed with wild surprise, Unused such looks to meet; His favorite checked his joyful guise, And crouched and licked his feet.
Onward in haste Llewellyn passed, And on went Gelert, too, And still, where'er his eyes were cast, Fresh blood-gouts shocked his view.
O'erturned his infant's bed he found, The blood-stained covert rent; And all around, the walls and ground, With recent blood besprent.
He called the child—no voice replied; He searched, with terror wild; Blood! Blood! He found on every side, But nowhere found the child!
"Hell-hound! By thee my child's devoured!" The frantic father cried; And to the hilt his vengeful sword He plunged in Gelert's side.
His suppliant, as to earth he fell, No pity could impart, But still his Gelert's dying yell Passed heavy o'er his heart.
Aroused by Gelert's dying yell, Some slumberer wakened nigh; What words the parent's joy can tell To hear his infant cry!
Concealed beneath a mangled heap His hurried search had missed, All glowing from his rosy sleep, His cherub-boy he kissed.
Nor scratch had he, nor harm, nor dread, But, the same couch beneath, Lay a great wolf, all torn and dead— Tremendous still in death.
Ah! What was then Llewellyn's pain! For now the truth was clear: The gallant hound the wolf had slain To save Llewellyn's heir.
Vain, vain was all Llewellyn's woe; "Best of thy kind, adieu! The frantic deed which laid thee low This heart shall ever rue!"
And now a gallant tomb they raise, With costly sculpture decked, And marbles, storied with his praise, Poor Gelert's bones protect.
Here never could the spearman pass, Or forester, unmoved! Here oft the tear-besprinkled grass Llewellyn's sorrow proved.
And here he hung his horn and spear, And oft, as evening fell, In fancy's piercing sounds would hear Poor Gelert's dying yell.
WILLIAM ROBERT SPENCER.
THE FLAG AND THE FAITHFUL
(A Washington woman has made a loud outcry to the Secretary of War to reprimand the soldiers at the Government Aviation Station for burying their faithful dog, Muggsie, wrapped in the Stars and Stripes.)
Ah, Muggsie, good and faithful dog, Gone to your rest! You served your country and your flag The very best That lay within your humble power, And in that far Have been much better than some men And women are. As you had lived, good dog, you died, And it is meet The flag you served your best should be Your winding sheet.
WILLIAM J. LAMPTON.
A GUARDIAN AT THE GATE
The dog beside the threshold lies, Mocking sleep with half-shut eyes— With head crouched down upon his feet, Till strangers pass his sunny seat— Then quick he pricks his ears to hark And bustles up to growl and bark; While boys in fear stop short their song, And sneak in startled speed along; And beggar, creeping like a snail, To make his hungry hopes prevail O'er the warm heart of charity, Leaves his lame halt and hastens by.
A TALE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR
'Twas in a neighboring land what time The Reign of Terror triumphed there, And every horrid shape of crime Stalked out from murder's bloody lair.
'Twas in those dreadful times there dwelt In Lyons, the defiled with blood, A loyal family that felt The earliest fury of the flood.
Wife, children, friends, it swept away From wretched Valrive, one by one, Himself severely doomed to stay Till everything he loved was gone.
A man proscribed, whom not to shun Was danger, almost fate, to brave, So all forsook him, all save one— One faithful, humble, powerless slave.
His dog, old Nina. She had been, When they were boys, his children's mate, His gallant Claude, his mild Eugene, Both gone before him to their fate.
They spurned her off—but evermore, Surmounting e'en her timid nature, Love brought her to the prison door, And there she crouched, fond, faithful creature!
Watching so long, so piteously, That e'en the jailor—man of guilt, Of rugged heart—was moved to cry, "Poor wretch, there enter if thou wilt."
And who than Nina more content When she had gained that dreary cell Where lay in helpless dreariment The master loved so long and well?
And when into his arms she leapt In her old fond, familiar way, And close into his bosom crept, And licked his face—a feeble ray
Of something—not yet comfort—stole Upon his heart's stern misery, And his lips moved, "Poor loving fool! Then all have not abandoned me."
The hour by grudging kindness spared Expired too soon—the friends must part— And Nina from the prison gazed, With lingering pace and heavy heart.
Shelter, and rest, and food she found With one who, for the master's sake, Though grim suspicion stalked around, Dared his old servant home to take.
Beneath that friendly roof, each night She stayed, but still returning day— Ay, the first beam of dawning light Beheld her on her anxious way.
Towards the prison, there to await The hour when through that dismal door The keeper, half compassionate, Should bid her enter as before.
And well she seemed to comprehend The time appointed for her stay, The little hour that with her friend She tarried there was all her day.
At last the captive's summons came; They led him forth his doom to hear; No tremor shook his thrice-nerved frame Whose heart was dead to hope and fear.
So with calm step he moved along, And calmly faced the murderous crew, But close and closer for the throng, Poor Nina to her master drew.
And she has found a resting place Between his knees—her old safe home— And she looks round in every face As if to read his written doom.
'Twas but a step in those dread days From trial to the guillotine; A moment, and Valrive surveys With steadfast eye the fell machine.
He mounts the platform, takes his stand Before the fatal block, and kneels In preparation—but his hand A soft warm touch that moment feels.
His eyes glance downward, and a tear— The last tear they shall ever shed— Falls as he utters, "Thou still here!" Upon his faithful servant's head.
Yes, she is there; that hellish shout, That deadly stroke, she hears them plain, And from the headless trunk starts out Even over her the bloody rain.
Old faithful Nina! There lies she, Her cold head on the cold earth pressed, As it was wont so lovingly To lie upon her master's breast.
And there she stayed the livelong day, Mute, motionless, her sad watch keeping; A stranger who had passed that way Would have believed her dead or sleeping.
But if a step approached the grave Her eye looked up with jealous care, Imploringly, as if to crave That no rude foot should trample there.
That night she came not, as of late, To her old, charitable home; The next day's sun arose and set, Night fell—and still she failed to come.
Then the third day her pitying host Went kindly forth to seek his guest, And found her at her mournful post, Stretched quietly as if at rest.
Yet she was not asleep nor dead, And when her master's friend she saw, The poor old creature raised her head, And moaned, and moved one feeble paw.
But stirred not thence—and all in vain He called, caressed her, would have led— Tried threats—then coaxing words again— Brought food—she turned away her head.
So with kind violence at last He bore her home with gentle care; In her old shelter tied her fast, Placed food beside and left her there.
But ere the hour of rest, again He visited the captive's shed, And there the cord lay, gnawed in twain— The food untasted—she was fled.
And, vexed, he cried, "Perverse old creature! Well, let her go. I've done my best." But there was something in his nature, A feeling that would not let him rest.