"And now I'm in the world alone,
Upon the wide, wide sea:
But why should I for others groan,
When none will sigh for me?
Perchance my Dog will whine in vain,
Till fed by stranger hands;
But long ere I come back again,
He'd tear me where he stands.
- Here follows in the MS., erased:—
Methinks it would my bosom glad,
To change my proud estate,
And be again a laughing lad
With one beloved playmate.
Since youth I scarce have pass'd an hour
Without disgust or pain.
Except sometimes in Lady's bower,
Or when the bowl I drain.
- ["I do not mean to exchange the ninth verse of the 'Good Night.' I have no reason to suppose my dog better than his brother brutes, mankind; and Argus we know to be a fable" (letter to Dallas, September 23, 1811: Letters, 1898, ii. 44).
Byron was recalling an incident which had befallen him some time previously (see letter to Moore, January 19, 1815): "When I thought he was going to enact Argus, he bit away the backside of my breeches, and never would consent to any kind of recognition, in despite of all kinds of bones which I offered him." See, too, for another thrust at Argus, Don Juan, Canto III. stanza xxiii. But he should have remembered that this particular Argus "was half a wolf by the she side." His portrait is preserved at Newstead (see Poetical Works, 1898, i. 280, Edition de Luxe).
For the expression of a different sentiment, compare The Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog (first published in Hobhouse's Imit. and Transl., 1809), and the prefatory inscription on Boatswain's grave in the gardens of Newstead, dated November 16, 1808 (Life, p. 73).]