Ballads Founded on Anecdotes Relating to Animals/The Dog
BALLAD THE FIRST.
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.
But gold had not the power to raise
A semblance of her friend;
Yet kind compassion, who surveys,
Soon bids her sorrow end.
A sculptor, pity's genuine son!
Knew her well-founded grief;
And quickly, tho' he promised none,
Gave her the best relief;
He, rich in Lucy's sister's heart,
By love and friendship's aid,
Of Fido, with the happiest art,
A secret statue made.
By stealth in Lucy's chamber plac'd,
It charm'd the mourner there,
Till Edward, with new glory grac'd,
Rejoin'd his faithful fair.
The marble Fido in their sight,
Enhanc'd their nuptial bliss;
And Lucy every morn, and night,
Gave him a grateful kiss.