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Poem by William Somerville

The Dog and the Bear

Towser, of right Hockleian sire,
A dog of mettie and of fire,
With Ursin grim, an errant Bear,
Maintain'd a long and dubious war:
Oft Ursin on his back was tost,
And Towser many a collop lost;
Capricious fortune would declare
Now for the Dog, then for the Bear,
Thus having tried their courage fairly,
Brave Ursin first desir'd a parley: Ч
"Stout combatant," quoth he, "whose might
I've felt in many a bloody fight,
Tell me the cause of all this pother,
And why we worry one another?" Ч
"That's a moot point,"the cur replied,
"Our masters only can decide:
While thou and I our heart's-blood spill,
They prudently their pockets fill;
Halloo us on with all their might,
To turn a penny by the fight."
"If that's the case, " return'd the Bear,
"'Tis time at last to end the war;
Thou keep thy teeth, and I my claws,
To combat in a nobler cause;
Sleep in a whole skin, I advise,
And let them bleed who gain the prize."


Parties enrag'd on one another fall;
The butcher and the bear-ward pocket all.

William Somerville

William Somerville's other poems:
  1. A Padlock for the Mouth
  2. The Two Springs
  3. The Oyster
  4. For the Lute
  5. Hunting Song

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