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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, February 08, 2013

"an essay on dog" in verse, 1794

This is a piece of a much longer poem, but I like the opening image the poet uses of asking his dog to shake his "pliant" ears and listen to him extol dogs everywhere.  James Grahame (1765-1811) was a Scottish poet who began his working life in the law, but at age 44 decided to chuck that all in to become an Anglican minister.

From An Essay on Dog

AWAKE, my Pompey, shake thy pliant ears,
And listen to my song, a song of thee,
And of Dogkind. Enough has now been sung
By man, that egotist, himself the theme.
An humbler subject for my strains I chuse,
Strains unadorn'd with harmony of rhyme: 

I sing the poor man's never-changing friend,
The friend still true when all have turn'd their back;
If prosperous his lot, submissive still,
Or if adverse, not knowing to repine;
Content whether he eat the rich man's bread,
Or the blind beggar lead from door to door.

Mistaken man, thou call'st thy foe a dog,—:—
This his suppos'd reproach, his greatest praise.
If dogs in language could their thoughts impart,
Mayhap they'd call a vicious cur—a man.

Poems, in English, Scotch, and Latin, James Grahame (1794) pp 29-30

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