Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog
from The Vicar of Wakefield
by Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774)
Good people all, of every sort,
Give ear unto my song;
And if you find it wond’rous short,
It cannot hold you long.
In Isling town there was a man,
Of whom the world might say,
That still a godly race he ran
Whene’er he went to pray.
A kind and gentle heart he had
To comfort friends and foes;
The naked every day he clad
When he put on his clothes.
And in that town a dog was found,
As many dogs there be,
Both mongrel, puppy, whelp, and hound,
And curs of low degree.
This dog and man at first were friends;
But when a pique began,
The dog, to gain some private ends,
Went mad and bit the man.
Around, from all the neighb’ring streets,
The wondering neighbours ran,
And swore the dog had lost his wits,
To bite so good a man.
The wound it seem’d both sore and sad
To every christian eye;
And while they swore the dog was mad,
They swore the man would die.
But soon a wonder came to light,
That shew’d the rogues they lied;
The man recovered of his bite,
The dog it was that dy’d.