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Short poem

Oliver Goldsmith (1730?-1774)

An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog

              1Good people all, of every sort,
              2    Give ear unto my song;
              3And if you find it wond'rous short,
              4    It cannot hold you long.

              5In Isling town there was a man,
              6    Of whom the world might say,
              7That still a godly race he ran,
              8    Whene'er he went to pray.

              9A kind and gentle heart he had,
            10    To comfort friends and foes;
            11The naked every day he clad,
            12    When he put on his cloaths.

            13And in that town a dog was found,
            14    As many dogs there be,
            15Both mungrel, puppy, whelp, and hound,
            16    And curs of low degree.

            17This dog and man at first were friends;
            18    But when a pique began,
            19The dog, to gain his private ends,
            20    Went mad and bit the man.

            21Around from all the neighbouring streets,
            22    The wondering neighbours ran,
            23And swore the dog had lost his wits,
            24    To bite so good a man.

            25The wound it seem'd both sore and sad,
            26    To every christian eye;
            27And while they swore the dog was mad,
            28    They swore the man would die.

            29But soon a wonder came to light,
            30    That shew'd the rogues they lied,
            31The man recovered of the bite,
            32    The dog it was that dy'd.


5] Isling town: Islington, a suburb of London.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: [Oliver Goldsmith] The Vicar of Wakefield: A Tale, Supposed to be written by himself, 2 vols. (Salisbury: B. Collins for F. Newbery, 1766): I, 175-76. British Library 2483.c.46
First publication date: 1766
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2001
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/14

Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Oliver Goldsmith