The Old Hound

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Caxton's translation (1484)[edit]

Of the old dogge and of his mayster

Men ought not to dysprayse the auncyent ne to putte a bak / For yf thow be yonge / thow oughtest to desyre to come to old age or auncyente / And also thow oughtest to loue and prayse the fayttes or dedes whiche the haue done in theyr yongthe / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a lord whiche had a dogge / the whiche dogge had be in his yongthe of good kynde / For ye wote wel / that of kynde the dogges chacen and hunten in theyr yongthe / and haue grete luste to renne and take the wyld beestes / whan thenne this dogge was come to old age / and that he myght nomore renne / It happeth ones that he lete scape and go fro hym an hare / wherfore his mayster was sorowfull and angry / and by grete wrathe beganne to bete hym / The dogge sayd thenne to hym / My mayster / of good seruyse thow yeldest to me euylle gwerdone and reward / For in my yonge age I serued the ful wel / And now that I am comen to myn old age / thow betest and settest me a bak / haue memorye how in myn yong age / I was stronge and lusty / And how I made grete oultrages and effors / the whiche caused my yongthe / And now when I am bycome old and feble thow settest nought of me /

This fable techeth that who so euer doth ony good in his yonghte / in his auncyente and old age he shalle not contynue in the vertues whiche he posseded in his yong age

L'Estrange's translation (1692)[edit]


An old Dog, that in his Youth had led his Master many a merry Chase, and done him all the Offices of a trusty Servant, came at last, upon falling from his Speed and Vigor to be loaden at every turn with Blows and Reproaches for it. Why Sir, says the Dog, my Will is as good as ever it was, but my Strength and my Teeth are gone; and you might with as good a Grace, and every Jot as much Justice, hang me up because I’m old, as beat me because I’m impotent.

THE MORAL OF THE TWO FABLES ABOVE. The Reward of Affection and Fidelity must be the Work of another World: Not but that the Conscience of well-doing is a Comfort that may pass for a Recompence even in this; in despite of Ingratitude and Injustice.

Townsend's translation (1887)[edit]

The Old Hound

A Hound, who in the days of his youth and strength had never yielded to any beast of the forest, encountered in his old age a boar in the chase. He seized him boldly by the ear, but could not retain his hold because of the decay of his teeth, so that the boar escaped. His master, quickly coming up, was very much disappointed, and fiercely abused the dog. The Hound looked up and said, "It was not my fault. master: my spirit was as good as ever, but I could not help my infirmities. I rather deserve to be praised for what I have been, than to be blamed for what I am."