NO better Dog e'er kept his Master's Door


The DOG and his MASTER.

Primary Text:

No MS; 1713 Misc, 265-6*.
[Page 265]

NO better Dog e'er kept his Master's Door
Than honest Snarl, who spar'd nor Rich nor Poor;
But gave the Alarm, when any one drew nigh,
Nor let pretended Friends pass fearless by:
For which reprov'd, as better Fed than Taught,
He rightly thus expostulates the Fault.

  To keep the House from Rascals was my Charge;
The Task was great, and the Commission large.
Nor did your Worship e'er declare your Mind,
That to the begging Crew it was confin'd;
Who shrink an Arm, or prop an able Knee,
Or turn up Eyes, till they're not seen, nor see.
To Thieves, who know the Penalty of Stealth,
And fairly stake their Necks against your Wealth,
These are the known Delinquents of the Times,
And Whips and Tyburn. testify their Crimes.

[Page 266]

But since to Me there was by Nature lent
An exquisite Discerning by the Scent;
I trace a Flatt'rer, when he fawns and leers,
A rallying Wit, when he commends and jeers:
The greedy Parasite I grudging note,
Who praises the good Bits, that oil his Throat;
I mark the Lady, you so fondly toast,
That plays your Gold, when all her own is lost:
The Knave, who fences your Estate by Law,
Yet still reserves an undermining Flaw.
These and a thousand more, which I cou'd tell,
Provoke my Growling, and offend my Smell.

Secondary Eds:

Rpt of 1713: 1903 Reynolds, 206-7; rpts of 1903 Reynolds: 1930 Fausset, 93; 1979 Rogers AF, 135; 1987 Thompson, 68-9.


Although her title and some of the ideas and general narrative movement may have come from L'Estrange, "A Dog and his Master", Pt 1, No 484, her details and tone are utterly diverse (L'Estrange's dog is a simple faithful servant who is praised); Finch's "Snarl" is a disillusion cynic; again idea may be found in Ogilby, "Of the Dog and Thief," No. 21; but the narrative is different. For the ultimate sources of the two Aesopic types of dog fables, see Rhys, "The Thief and the Dog," p 56; "The Faithful Dog," p 90.


A brilliant Aesopic, this poem recalls her earlier fable "The Jester and the little Fishes;" here her hard-earned disdain gives her fable a chiselled unemotional perfection and moral strength.
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Page Last Updated 8 January 2003