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Ballads Founded on Anecdotes Relating to Animals   By: (1745-1820)

Book cover

First Page:







Three words of Horace may form an introduction to the following pages, the very words, which that amiable physician and poet, the late Dr. Cotton of St. Alban's, prefixed as a motto to his elegant and moral little volume of Visions in Verse:


Or in plainer English prose: The book is intended for young Readers.




Of all the speechless friends of man The faithful dog I deem Deserving from the human clan The tenderest esteem:

This feeling creature form'd to love, To watch, and to defend, Was given to man by powers above, A guardian, and a friend!

I sing, of all e'er known to live The truest friend canine; And glory if my verse may give, Brave Fido! it is thine.

A dog of many a sportive trick, Tho' rough and large of limb. Fido would chase the floating stick When Lucy cried, "go swim."

And what command could Lucy give, Her dog would not obey? For her it seemed his pride to live, Blest in her gentle sway!

For conscious of her every care He strain'd each feeling nerve, To please that friend, his lady fair Commanded him to serve.

Of many friends to Lucy dear, One rose above the rest; Proclaim'd, in glory's bright career. The monarch of her breast.

Tender and brave, her Edward came To bid his fair adieu; To India call'd, in honour's name, To honour he was true.

The farewell rack'd poor Lucy's heart, Nor pain'd her lover less; And Fido, when he saw them part, Seem'd full of their distress.

Lucy, who thro' her tears descried His sympathetic air, "Go! with him, Fido!" fondly cried, "And make his life thy care!"

The dog her order understood, Or seem'd to understand, It was his glory to make good Affection's kind command.

How he obeyed; the price how great His brave obedience cost, Fancy would faulter to relate, In wild conjecture lost.

But Truth and Love, the upright pair, Who witnessed Fido's worth, His wond'rous virtue shall declare, A lesson to the earth!

Not in the battle's gory tide, Nor in the stormy seas, No! Fido's noble faith was tried In scenes of sportive ease.

Often in India's sultry soil To brace the languid limb, 'Twas Edward's pleasure, after toil, To take a fearless swim.

Bold in a flood he lov'd to leap. When full the current flow'd; Nor dreamt the water, dark, and deep. The crocodile's abode.

And fearless he and Fido oft, Along the stream would glide; Their custom from the bank aloft To vault into the tide!

But once, when Edward had begun To cast his clothes aside, Round him his dog would anxious run, And much to check him tried.

So much, that had dumb Fido said "Avoid the stream to day!" Those words could scarce have plainer made What duty wish'd to say.

Edward, too eager to enjoy The sport, where danger lay, Scolds him for gestures, that annoy, And beats his guard away:

And naked now, and dreaming not How cruel was that blow, He hurries to the lofty spot, In haste to plunge below,

His faithful friend, with quicker pace, And now with silent tongue, Out stript his master in the race, And swift before him sprung.

Heaven! how the heart of Edward swell'd Upon the river's brink, When his brave guardian he beheld A glorious victim sink!

Sink in a watery monster's jaw, That near the river's side Too late th' astonish'd Edward saw, And shriek'd, as Fido died.

In vain he shriek'd; and soon his tears His heart felt loss deplore; "Lucy!" he cries, as if she hears, "Thy Fido is no more!"

"Calamitously lost, his form, So often thy delight! No artist's hand, with genius warm, Can rescue for thy sight;"

"But if 'tis sung by friendly bard How he resign'd his breath; Thy dog must win the world's regard, Immortal in his death!"

'Twas thus the feeling Edward griev'd, Nor could his grief divine, What honours, by pure love conceived, Brave Fido, would be thine!

When Lucy heard of Fido's fate, What showers of tears she shed! No cost would she have thought too great To celebrate the dead... Continue reading book >>

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