The Wolf and the Dog

by William Somervile

William Somervile

A PROWLING Wolf, that scour'd the plains
To ease his hunger's griping pains,
Ragged as courtier in disgrace,
Hide-bound, and lean, and out of case,
By chance a well-fed dog espied,
And being kin, and near allied,
He civilly salutes the cur: —
" How do you, Cuz? " " Your servant, Sir! "
" O happy friend! how gay thy mien!
How plump thy sides, how sleek thy skin!
Triumphant plenty shines all o'er,
And the fat melts at every pore!
While I, alas! decay'd and old,
With hunger pin'd, and stiff with cold,
With many a howl and hideous groan
Tell the relentless woods my moan.
Pr'ythee, my happy friend! impart
Thy wondrous cunning thriving art? "
" Why, faith, I'll tell thee as a friend:
But first thy surly manners mend:
Be complaisant, obliging, kind,
And leave the Wolf for once behind. "
The Wolf, whose mouth begun to water,
With joy, and rapture, gallop'd after,
When thus the Dog: " At bed and board
I share the plenty of my lord;
From every guest I claim a fee,
Who court my lord by bribing me:
In mirth I revel all the day,
And many a game at romps I play:
I fetch and carry, leap o'er sticks,
And twenty such diverting tricks. " —
" 'Tis pretty, faith! " the Wolf replied,
And on his neck the collar spied:
He starts, and without more ado
He bids the abject wretch adieu;
" Enjoy your dainties, friend! to me
The noblest feast is liberty. "
The famish'd Wolf upon these desert plains
Is happier than a fawning cur in chains.


Thus bravely spoke the nurse of ancient Rome,
Thus the starv'd Swiss and hungry Grisons roam
On barren hills, clad with eternal snow,
And look with scorn on the prim slaves below:
Thus Cato 'scap'd by death the tyrant's chains.
And walks unshackled in the' Elysian Plains.
Thus, Britons! thus your great forefathers stood
For liberty, and fought in seas of blood:
To barren rocks and gloomy woods confin'd,
Their virtues by necessity refin'd,
Nor cold, nor want, nor death, could shake their steady mind.
No saucy druid then durst cry aloud,
And with his slavish cant debauch the crowd;
No passive legions in a scoundrel's cause
Pillage a city, and affront the laws.
The state was quiet, happy, and serene,
For Boadicea was the Britons' queen;
Her subjects their just liberties maintain'd,
And in her people's hearts the happy monarch reign'd.

Last updated October 28, 2017