[Page 115]


The Mastiffs.

1 Those, who in quarrels interpose,
2 Must often wipe a bloody nose.
3 A Mastiff, of true English blood,
4 Lov'd fighting better than his food,
5 When dogs were snarling for a bone,
6 He long'd to make the war his own,
[Page 116]
7 And often found (when two contend)
8 To interpose obtain'd his end;
9 He glory'd in his limping pace,
10 The scars of honour seam'd his face,
11 In ev'ry limb a gash appears,
12 And frequent fights retrench'd his ears.
13 As, on a time, he heard from far
14 Two dogs engag'd in noisy war,
15 Away he scours and lays about him,
16 Resolv'd no fray should be without him.
17 Forth from his yard a tanner flies,
18 And to the bold intruder cries.
19 A cudgel shall correct your manners.
20 Whence sprung this cursed hate to tanners?
21 While on my dog you vent your spite;
22 Sirrah, 'tis me you dare not bite.
23 To see the battel thus perplext,
24 With equal rage a butcher vext,
25 Hoarse-screaming from the circled croud,
26 To the curst Mastiff cries aloud.
[Page 117]
27 Both Hockley-hole and Mary-bone
28 The combats of my dog have known;
29 He ne'er, like bullies coward-hearted,
30 Attacks in publick, to be parted;
31 Think not, rash fool, to share his fame,
32 Be his the honour or the shame.
33 Thus said, they swore and rav'd like thunder,
34 Then dragg'd their fasten'd dogs asunder,
35 While clubs and kicks from ev'ry side
36 Rebounded from the Mastiff's hide.
37 All reeking now with sweat and blood
38 A-while the parted warriors stood,
39 Then pour'd upon the meddling foe;
40 Who, worried, howl'd and sprawl'd below:
41 He rose; and limping from the fray,
42 By both sides mangled, sneak'd away.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [34] XXXIV. The Mastiffs.
Author: John Gay
Themes: animals
Genres: fable

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Source edition

Gay, John, 1685-1732. FABLES. By Mr. GAY. London: Printed for J. Tonson and J. Watts, MDCCXXVII., 1727, pp. 115-117. [14],173,[1]p.: ill.; 4°. (ESTC T13818)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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