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Short poem

George Chapman (1559?-1634)

The Seventeenth Book Of Homer's Odysseys


          486Such speech they chang'd; when in the yard there lay
          487A dog, call'd Argus, which, before his way
          488Assum'd for Ilion, Ulysses bred,
          489Yet stood his pleasure then in little stead,
          490As being too young; but, growing to his grace,
          491Young men made choice of him for every chace,
          492Or of their wild goats, of their hares, or harts.
          493But his king gone, and he, now past his parts,
          494Lay all abjectly on the stable's store,
          495Before the oxstall, and mules' stable door,
          496To keep the clothes cast from the peasants' hands,
          497While they laid compass on Ulysses' lands;
          498The dog, with ticks (unlook'd-to) over-grown.
          499But by this dog no sooner seen but known
          500Was wise Ulysses, who new enter'd there,
          501Up went his dog's laid ears, and, coming near,
          502Up he himself rose, fawn'd, and wagg'd his stern,
          503Couch'd close his ears, and lay so; nor discern
          504Could evermore his dear-lov'd lord again.
          505Ulysses saw it, nor had power t' abstain
          506From shedding tears; which (far-off seeing his swain)
          507He dried from his sight clean; to whom he thus
          508His grief dissembled: "'Tis miraculous,
          509That such a dog as this should have his lair
          510On such a dunghill, for his form is fair.
          511And yet, I know not, if there were in him
          512Good pace, or parts, for all his goodly limb;
          513Or he liv'd empty of those inward things,
          514As are those trencher-beagles tending kings,
          515Whom for their pleasure's, or their glory's sake,
          516Or fashion, they into their favour take."

          517     "This dog," said he, "was servant to one dead
          518A huge time since. But if he bore his head,
          519For form and quality, of such a height,
          520As when Ulysses, bound for th' Ilion fight,
          521Or quickly after, left him, your rapt eyes
          522Would then admire to see him use his thighs
          523In strength and swiftness. He would nothing fly,
          524Nor anything let scape; if once his eye
          525Seiz'd any wild beast, he knew straight his scent;
          526Go where he would, away with him he went.
          527Nor was there ever any savage stood
          528Amongst the thickets of the deepest wood
          529Long time before him, but he pull'd him down;
          530As well by that true hunting to be shown
          531In such vast coverts, as for speed of pace
          532In any open lawn. For in deep chace
          533He was a passing wise and well-nos'd hound.
          534And yet is all this good in him uncrown'd
          535With any grace here now; nor he more fed
          536Than any errant cur. His king is dead,
          537Far from his country; and his servants are
          538So negligent they lend his hound no care.
          539Where masters rule not, but let men alone,
          540You never there see honest service done.
          541That man's half virtue Jove takes quite away,
          542That once is sun-burn'd with the servile day."
          543This said, he enter'd the well-builded towers,
          544Up bearing right upon the glorious wooers,
          545And left poor Argus dead; his lord's first sight
          546Since that time twenty years bereft his light.

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: George Chapman. The Iliads of Homer. 1611. STC 13634. Facs. edn. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. English Experience 115. PA 4025 A2C5 1611A ROBA
First publication date: 1611
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.216.
Recent editing: 2:2002/5/17

Other poems by George Chapman