« PreviousContinue »
Pope's sarcastic epigram, “engraved on the collar of a dog, which I gave to his Royal Highness," must not be omitted here.
“I am his Highness' dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, Sir, whose dog are you?”
No English writer has drawn the dog more happily than Walter Scott. As in the case of Bevis, his descriptions were no doubt often taken direct from individuals he knew; and with the love he had for them he drew them lovingly. In pathos, we have nothing of the kind which surpasses his verses on the dog of Helvellyn.
“In the spring of 1805 a young gentleman of talents, and of a most amiable disposition, perished by losing his way on the mountain Helvellyn. His remains were not discovered till three months afterwards, when they were found guarded by a faithful terrier-bitch, his constant attendant during frequent solitary rambles through the wilds of Cumberland and Westmoreland.”
“I climb'd the dark brow of the mighty Helvellyn,
Lakes and mountains beneath me gleam'd misty and wide;
And starting around me the echoes replied.
Where I mark’d the sad spot where the wand'rer had died.
Dark green was that spot ʼmid the brown mountain-heather,
Where the Pilgrim of Nature lay stretch'd in decay,
Till the mountain winds wasted the tenantless clay.
And chased the hill-fox and the raven away.
How long didst thou think that his silence was slumber?
When the wind waved his garment, how oft did'st thou start ?
Ere he faded before thee, the friend of thy heart ?
Unhonour'd the Pilgrim from life should depart?
When a Prince to the fate of the Peasant has yielded,
The tapestry waves dark round the dim-lighted hall ;
And pages stand mute by the canopied pall:
Lamenting a Chief of the people should fall.
But meeter for thee, gentle lover of Nature,
To lay down thy head like the mcek mountain-lamb,
And draws his last sob by the side of his dam.
In the arms of Helvellyn and Catchedicam."
Wordsworth likewise composed a poem on the same affecting and tragic event.