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WHEN wise Ulysses, from his native coast
Long kept by wars, and long by tempests toss'd,
Arrived at last, poor, old, disguised, alone,
To all his friends and even his queen unknown;
The faithful dog alone his rightful master knew!
Unfed, unhoused, neglected, on the clay,
Like an old servant, now cashier'd, he lay;
Touch'd with resentment of ungrateful man,
Him when he saw-he rose, and crawl'd to meet,
[The above was sent by Pope to H. Cromwell, in a letter dated Oct. 19, 1709, containing a very interesting panegyric upon dogs. "Histories," he says, are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends, but I will not insist upon many of them, because it is possible some may be almost as fabulous as those of Pylades and Orestes, &c. I will only say for the honour of dogs, that the two most ancient and estimable books, sacred and profane, extant, (viz. the Scripture and Homer,) have shown a particular regard to these animals. That of Toby is the more remarkable, because there seemed no manner of reason to take notice of the dog, besides the great humanity of the author. Homer's account of Ulysses's dog, Argus, is the most pathetic imaginable, all the circumstances considered, and an excellent proof of the old bard's good nature. Ulysses had left him at Ithaca when he embarked for Troy, and found him at his return after twenty years (which, by the way, is not unnatural, as some critics have said, since I remember, the dam of my
dog was twenty-two years old when she died. May the omen of longevity prove fortunate to her successors!). Plutarch, relating how the Athenians were obliged to abandon Athens in the time of Themistocles, steps back again out of the way of his history, purely to describe the lamentable cries and howlings of the poor dogs they left behind. He makes mention of one that followed his master across the sea to Salamis, where he died, and was honoured with a tomb by the Athenians, who gave the name of the Dog's Grave to that part of the island where he was buried. This respect to a dog, in the most polite people of the world, is very observable. A modern instance of gratitude to a dog (though we have but few such) is, that the chief order of Denmark (now injuriously called the order of the elephant) was instituted in memory of the fidelity of a dog, named Wildbrat, to one of their kings who had been deserted by his subjects. He gave his order this motto, or to this effect (which still remains), "Wild-brat was faithful." Sir William Trumbull has told me a story, which he heard from one that was present. King Charles I. being with some of his Court, during his troubles, a discourse arose what sort of dogs deserved pre-eminence, and it being on all hands agreed to belong either to the spaniel or greyhound, the King gave his opinion on the part of the greyhound, because (said he) it has all the good-nature of the other without the fawning. A good piece of satire upon his courtiers, with which I will conclude my discourse on dogs."]
IMPROMPTU TO LADY WINCHELSEA.
OCCASIONED BY FOUR SATIRICAL VERSES ON WOMEN WITS, IN THE RAPE OF
boast poetic names of yore,
And cite those Sapphos we admire no more:
EPILOGUE TO MR. ROWE'S JANE SHORE.
DESIGNED FOR MRS. OLDFIELD.
PRODIGIOUS this! the frail one of our play
I can't-indeed now-I so hate a whore
Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull,
"How strangely you expose yourself, my dear!"
Our sex are still forgiving at their heart;
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale,
Scolds with her maids, or with her chaplain crams.
'Faith, gallants, board with saints, and bed with sinners.
He has a husband that will make amends:
Plu-Plutarch, what's his name that writes his life?
Though with the Stoic chief our stage may ring,
'Faith, let the modest matrons of the town
Come here in crowds, and stare the strumpet down.
PROLOGUE TO THE THREE HOURS AFTER
[Brought on the stage, and condemned, the first night, 1716.]
UTHORS are judged by strange capricious rules;
The great ones are thought mad, the small ones fools:
Yet sure the best are most severely fated,
For fools are only laugh'd at, wits are hated.
Cry, "Damn not us, but damn the French who made it."
Dash'd by these rogues, turns English common draught.
They pall Molière's and Lopez' sprightly strain,
Who dares most impudently not translate?
To fetch his fools and knaves from foreign climes,
Spaniards and French abuse to the world's end,
Let him hiss loud, to show you all, he's hit.
A common blessing! now 'tis yours, now mine.
To keep this cap, for such as will, to wear,
Of course resign'd it to the next that writ:)
PROLOGUE DESIGNED FOR MR. D'URFEY'S LAST PLAY.3
GROWN old in rhyme, 'twere barbarous to discard
Your persevering, unexhausted bard:
Damnation follows death in other men,
Who strives to please the fair against her will:
Be kind, and make him in his wishes easy,
You modern wits, should each man bring his claim,
If all your debts to Greece and Rome were paid.
1 Shows a cap with ears.
2 Flings down the cap, and exit.