All-Accomplished Rover

by William Somervile

William Somervile

Man, of precarious science vain,
Treats other creatures with disdain;
Nor Pug nor Shock has common sense,
Nor even Poll the least pretence,
Though she prates better than us all,
To be accounted rational.
The brute creation here below,
It seems, is Nature's puppet show;
But clock-work all, and mere machine,
What can these idle gimcracks mean?
Ye world-makers of Gresham Hall,
Dog Rover shall confute you all;
Shall prove that every reasoning brute
Like Ben of Bangor can dispute,
Can apprehend, judge, syllogise;
Or like proud Bentley criticise:
At a moot point, or odd disaster,
Is often wiser than his master.
He may mistake sometimes, 'tis true,—
None are infallible but you.
The dog whom nothing can mislead
Must be a dog of parts indeed.

Rover, as heralds are agreed,
Well-born, and of the setting breed,
Ranged high, was stout, of nose acute,
A very learned and courteous brute.
In parallel lines his ground he beat,
Not such as in one centre meet,
In those let blundering doctors deal,
His were exactly parallel.
When tainted gales the game betray,
Down close he sinks, and eyes his prey,
Though different passions tempt his soul,
True as the needle to the pole,
He keeps his point, and panting lies,
The floating net above him flies,
Then, dropping, sweeps the fluttering prize.
Nor this his only excellence:
When surly farmers took offence,
And the rank corn the sport denied,
Still faithful to his master's side,
A thousand pretty pranks he played,
And cheerful each command obeyed;
Humble his mind, though great his wit,
Would lug a pig, or turn the spit;
Would fetch and carry, leap o'er sticks,
And forty such diverting tricks.
Nor Partridge nor wife Gadbury,
Could find lost goods so soon as he;
Bid him go back a mile or more
And seek the glove you hid before,
Still his unerring nose would wind it,
If above ground, was sure to find it,
Whimpering for joy his master greet,
And humbly lay it at his feet.

Last updated October 28, 2017