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Plutarch, relating how the Athenians were obliged to abandon Athens in the time of Themistocles, steps back again out of the way of his history, purely to describe the lamentable cries and howlings of the poor dogs they left behind. He makes mention of one that followed his master across the sea to Salamis, where he died, and was honoured with a tomb by the Athenians, who gave the name of the Dog's Grave to that part of the island where he was buried.
“ This respect to a dog in the most polite people in the world, is very observable. A modern instance of gratitude to a dog (though we have few such) is, that the chief order of Denmark (now injuriously called the order of the elephant) was instituted in memory of the fidelity of a dog, named Wild-brat, to one of their kings who had been deserted by his subjects; he gave his order this motto, or to this effect (which still remains), Wild-brat was faithful. Sir William Trumbull has told me a story” (said to be in Sir Philip Warwick's Memoirs), “which he heard from one that was present: King Charles I. being with some of his court during his troubles, a discourse arose what sort of dogs deserved pre-eminence, and it being on all hands agreed to belong either to the spaniel or greyhound, the King gave his opinion on the part of the greyhound, because (said he) it has all the good-nature of the other, without fawning. A good piece of satire upon his courtiers, with which I will conclude my discourse of dogs. Call me a cynic, or what you please, in revenge for all this impertinence; I will be contented, provided you will but believe me when I say-a bold word for a Christianthat, of all dogs, you will find none more faithful than
“ Your, &c."
The account referred to by Pope is thus given by Plutarch. After Themistocles on the advance of the Persians had prevailed on his countrymen to abandon their city, “ The embarkation of the people of Athens was a very affecting scene. What pity, what admiration of the firmness of those men, who-sending their parents and families to a distant place, unmoved with their cries and tears and embraceshad the fortitude to leave the city and embark for Salamis ! What greatly heightened the distress, was the number of citizens whom, on account of their extreme old age, they were compelled to leave behind. And some emotions of tenderness were due even to the tame domestic animals, which, running to the shore, with lamentable howlings expressed their affection and regret for the persons by whom they had been fed. One of these, a dog belonging to Xanthippus, the father of Pericles, unwilling to be left behind, is said to have leaped into the sea, and to have swam by the side of the ship till it reached Salamis, where quite spent with toil it immediately died. And they show to this day a place called Cynos-sema,' where they tell us it was buried.”
Pope said also, “ I cannot think it extravagant to imagine that mankind are no less, in proportion, accountable for the ill use of their dominion over creatures of the lower rank of beings, than for the exercise of tyranny over their own species. The more entirely the inferior creation is submitted to our power, the more answerable we should seem for our mismanagement of it; and the rather, as the very condition of nature renders these creatures incapable of receiving any recompense in another life for their ill treatment in this." A friend of Pope's having mentioned to him the celebrated
Dr. Stephen Hales, (whose experiments on living animals can scarcely be justified by any results derived from them), as a very good and worthy man: “ Yes," replied Pope," he is a very good maw; only I am sorry he has his hands so much imbrued in blood.”—“ What, he cuts up rats?"_" Ay, and dogs too!” (With what emphasis and concern he spoke it!) “ Indeed he commits most of these barbarities with the thought of being of use to man; but how do we know that we have a right to kill creatures that we are so little above as dogs, for our curiosity, or even for some use to us?” i
Pope's attachment to his dog Bounce is well known. Mrs. Racket told Spence, “My brother does not seem to know what fear is. When some of the people that he had put into his · Dunciad' were so much enraged against him, and threatened him so highly, he loved to walk out alone, and particularly went often to Mr. Fortescue's at Richmond. Only he would take Bounce with him; and for some time carried pistols in his pocket.” “ Bounce,” remarks Spence,
a great faithful Danish dog belonging to Mr. Pope.”
“ When my brother's faithful dog, and companion in these walks, died, he had some thoughts of burying him in his garden, and putting a piece of marble over
piece of marble over his grave, with the epitaph, O RARE BOUNCE! and he would have done it, I believe, had not he apprehended that some people might take it to have been meant as a ridicule of Ben Jonson.” 2
Gay also wrote some lines, entitled, “ Bounce to Fop:
1 See Spence's Anecdotes, Singer's ed., p. 203; and Pope's Paper in the Guardian, on Animals, 21 May, 1713.
? Spence's Anecdotes, 1858.
Epistle from a Dog at Twickenham to a Dog at Court.” This was Pope's dog, Bounce. They conclude thus:
“ Yet Master Pope, whom Truth and Sense
Shall call their friend some ages hence,
And roar in numbers worthy Bounce." Monsieur Elzéar Blaze in his excellent work gives the following anecdote of the consummate poet and his dog, but unhappily not his authority. Pope, one night, was awakened by the struggles of his dog who was holding a man by the throat. He ran to the window and called for help. Three thieves were seized in the garden, but the dog still held under him the one in the room, who proved to be Pope's own servant and armed with a pistol. He confessed his intention to murder his master, and rob the house with his confederates. Perhaps some of my readers can confirm or contradict this statement, which, if correct, is as curious as the celebrated anecdote of the mastiff of Sir Henry Lee.
There was, and still may be, a portrait of Pope and Bounce, by Richardson, at Hagley. Somerville wrote these lines on Argus :
“Short is their span; few at the date arrive
Of ancient Argus, in old Homer's song
The Chase, book iv.
Man's more powerful nature moulds the dog in a measure to himself. It has been remarked that a man may be known by his dog. The wants, the superstitions, the cruelties, the politics, and the passions both good and evil, of the races of men, influence his nature. No animal whatsoever is so plastic and so varied, either in habits, or in form and appearance. The feelings of the Indian for his fond ally are exquisitely delineated by Pope, and the innate philosophy of the savage is perhaps nearer to the truth than he then thought.
'Lo, the poor Indian ! whose untutor'd niind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind ;
Some one mentioned to Pope the opinion that animals have reasoning. He replied, “So they have, to be sure. All our disputes about that are only a dispute about words. Man has reason enough only to know what it is necessary for him to know, and dogs have just that too.” “ But then,” it was rejoined, “ they must have souls too, as imperishable in their nature as ours.” “ And what harm,” said Pope, “ would that be to us?"
Spence's Anecdotes, p. 60.