English Bull Dog, Dutch Mastiff, and Quail

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The English Bull Dog, Dutch Mastiff, and Quail. Fable II  (1755) 
by Christopher Smart
From Fables.

The ENGLISH BULL DOG, DUTCH

MASTIFF, and QUAIL.


 

FABLE II.


Are we not all of race divine,
Alike of an immortal line?
Shall man to man afford derision,
But for some casual division?
5 To malice, and to mischief prone,
From climate, canton, or from zone,
Are all to idle discord bent,
These Kentish men — those men of Kent;[1]
And parties and distinction make,
10 For parties and distinction's sake.
Souls sprung from an etherial flame,
However clad, are still the same;
Nor should we judge the heart or head,
By air we breathe, or earth we tread.
15 Dame Nature, who, all meritorious,
In a true Englishman is glorious;
Is lively, honest, brave and bonny,
In Monsieur, Taffy, Teague, and Sawney.
Give prejudices to the wind,
20And let's be patriots of mankind.
Biggots, avaunt, sense can't endure ye,
But fabulists should try to cure ye.

      A snub-nos'd Dog to fat inclin'd.
Of the true hogan mogan[2] kind,
25 The favourite of an English dame,
Mynheer Van Trumpo was his name:
One morning as he chanc'd to range,
Met honest Towzer on the 'Change;
And whom have we got here, I beg,
30Quoth he, — and lifted up his leg;
An English dog can't take an airing,
But foreign scoundrels must be staring.
I'd have your French dogs and your Spanish,
And all your Dutch and all your Danish,
35 By which our species is confounded,
Be hang'd, be poison'd, or be drowned;
No mercy on the race suspected,
Greyhounds from Italy excepted:
By them my dames ne'er prove big bellied,
40 For they poor toads are Farrinellied[3].
Well of all dogs it stands confess'd,
Your English bull dogs are the best;
I say it, and will set my hand to't,
Cambden records it, and I'll stand to't.
45 'Tis true we have too much urbanity,
Somewhat o'ercharg'd with soft humanity;
The best things must find food for railing,
And every creature has it's failing.

      And who are you? reply'd Van Trump,
50(Curling his tail upon his rump)
Vaunting the regions of distraction,
The land of party and of faction.
In all fair Europe, who but we,
For national oeconomy;
55 For wealth and peace, that have more charms,
Than learned arts, or noisy arms.
You envy us our dancing hogs,
With all the music of the frogs;
Join'd to the Fretchscutz's[4] bonny loon,
60Who on the cymbal[5] grinds the tune.
For poets, and the muses nine,
Beyond comparison we shine;
Oh! how we warble in our gizzards,
With X X's, H H's and with Z Z's.
65 For fighting — now you think I'm joking;
We love it better far than smoaking.
Ask but our troops, from man to boy,
Who all surviv'd at Fontenoy.[6]
'Tis true, as friends, and as allies,
70We're ever ready to devise;
Our loves, or any kind assistance,
That may be granted at a distance;
But if you go to brag, good bye t'ye,
Nor dare to brave the High and Mighty.

      75 Wrong are you both, rejoins a Quail,
Confin'd within it's wiry jail:
Frequent from realm to realm I've rang'd,
And with the seasons, climates chang'd.
Mankind is not so void of grace,
80But good I've found in every place:
I've seen sincerity in France,
Amongst the Germans complaisance;
In foggy Holland wit may reign,
I've known humility in Spain;
85 Free'd was I by a turban'd Turk,
Whose life was one entire good work;
And in this land, fair freedom's boast,
Behold my liberty is lost.
Despis'd Hibernia[7] have I seen,
90Dejected like a widow'd queen;
Her robe with dignity long worn,
And cap of liberty were torn;
Her broken fife, and harp unstrung,
On the uncultur'd ground were flung;
95 Down lay her spear, defil'd with rust,
And book of learning in the dust;
Her loyalty still blameless found,
And hospitality renown'd:
No more the voice of fame engross'd,
100In discontent and clamour lost. —
Ah! dire corruption, art thou spread,
Where never viper rear'd it's head?
And didst thy baleful influence sow,
Where hemlock nor the nightshade grow.
105 Hapless, disconsolate, and brave,
Hibernia! who'll Hibernia save?
Who shall assist thee in thy woe,
Who ward from thee the fatal blow?
'Tis done, the glorious work is done,
110All thanks to heav'n and Hartington[8].


1755


Notes

Dated 1755. First published in The Gentleman's Magazine (Dec. 1758). Reprinted 1791.

  1. 8. Traditional distinction between those born west and east, respectively, of Medway (Karina Williamson's note).
  2. 24. hogan mogan: Dutchmen (contemptuous term)
  3. 40. Farrinellied: castrated, from the name of Carlo Farinelli (1705-82), the famous male soprano.
  4. 59. Fretchscutz's: Tretchscutz's (Text 1758) from Du. trekschuit, "track-boat"? a horse-drawn wessel.
  5. 60. cymbal: here the reference to the hurdy-gurdy.
  6. 67-8. At the battle of Fontenoy (1745) the allies were defeated by the French. The British and Hanoverians fouth bravely but Dutch forces took shelter from the enemy fire and didn't support them/
  7. 89. Hibernia is the Classical Latin name for the island of Ireland.
  8. 110. His Grace the Duke of Devonshire (then Lord Hartington) was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in March 1755.
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.