The Two Spaniels


Edwin Henry Landseer, The Cavalier’s Pets, 19th C.



Addressed to ———-,


Yes, traitor of my thoughtless youth!

Fools and children speak the truth;

I’ll bear, while truth is made your rule,

Contentedly the name of fool.

I am a fool then; this is well:

My friend, for once the truth you tell;

And this is also true, of course,

If fools are bad, that rogues are worse.

You let your tongue go very free;

You say you’ve power to injure me:

Then why not do so?  I am near, –

Don’t think I’m led a knave to fear.

O, no! your malice I defy:

A thousand times I’d rather die

Than I’d lie fawning at your feet,

Or act, like you, the hypocrite.

You say you’ve power – then why not strike?

Do what you can – soon as you like;

And mind, my friend, I’ll make you feel

That I am flint, if you are steel.

Revenge, say you, should be represt,

That strong bad passion of the breast;

But God, I’m sure, hath made no laws

But that I may defend my cause.

Now pause awhile, and speak with reason:

Pray, did I ever tell you treason?

If so, howe’er the world might chide it,

I would not give you thanks to hide it.

Your saintship says, that ’tis a merit

To have a kind forgiving spirit;

But oft I’ve seen – Heaven knows ’tis true –

Poor proofs thereof in such as you.

Know, treacherous friend, I do detest

To harbour hatred in my breast;

And e’er I choose another name,

A fabled dog shall bear the blame.


Near Tavy’s bank, one summer’s day,

Two spaniels met, as spaniels may;

As to their names, mistakes may hap,

But yet I think ’twas Craft and Snap.

Said Craft to Snap, “You look quite well;

Pray, have you any news to tell?

Dear, bless my heart! how you are grown!”

“Yes,” Snap replied, “more ways than one.

Grown in experience, I have found

The world with treachery doth abound;

For you I thought an honest dog,

Before you proved yourself a rogue.

You to my neighbours make a rule

To call me silly easy fool;

To say you’d get me to impart

To you the secrets of my heart;

That I, an inexperienced pup,

Would easily become your dupe.

Yes, – what you ask’d me to unfold,

With honest ignorance I told:

And now you brag that you can harm me;

But that, my friend, doth not alarm me.

No more may puppies have to do

With such deceitful dogs as you.

What! can your spite so long withhold?

Fulfill your boast – if young, I’m bold;

Though by deceit a knave’s empower’d,

If Snap’s a fool he’s not a coward.”

Mary M Colling, 1831





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