Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

Elegy upon Dobbin, a Coach-horse

An ELEGY written by Stephen Switch upon Dobbin, a Coach-horse, who departed this mortal Life on Saturday, the 8th. of April [1699].

Oh! Cruel death, whose rage without remorse is,
Why shouldst thou persecute poor harmless horses,
Whose righteous blood, as said a spokesman wise,
Against thy malice will in judgment rise.
On Courtiers thou’st my leave to be severe,
And now and then I grudge thee not a Peer;
Spiritual or Temporal, no matter whethere,
Or a whole Corporation take together.
Such game methinks might thy keen stomach stay,
Considering thoud’st a whale the other day,
Then why the plague must thou on horse-flesh prey?
It grieves my conscience, and disturbs my quiet,
To see thee thus giv’n to Tartarian diet.
Poor two-legg’d beasts thou think’st not worth a groat,
But into porter’s foolish sport art got,
And must be playing at All-Fours, God wot.
         Were I to advise a dinner for thy palat,
A well-cramm’d Priest should serve instead of sallad,
Fat Draymen’s chines should be a standing-dish:
I’de have an Admiral, when I din’d on fish.
If nought but tender morsels wou’d go down,
Commend me to a Lady of the Town;
But for a choice tough bit to employ my maw,
I’de take a Scrivener, or a Man of Law.
But thou’rt, I find, a stranger to good breeding,
And dost not know the methods of good feeding.
          Oh Dobbin, thou wast hurried off the stage,
Just in the prime, and vigour of thy age.
Howe’re, dear beast, ’tis to thy friends some ease,
Thou fell’st by a right worshipful disease.
In spight of glister, balls, and farrier’s physic.
Thy days, Alass! were shorten’d by the tissic.
And all men know, (I speak it w’out scoffing)
That many an Alderman has died of coughing.
But if Heav’ns Justice will endure inspecting,
What had thy lungs done to deserve infecting,
For I can swear thou never hadst th’ ambition
To talk profaness, bawdy, or sedition.
          Once more farewell, my dear belov’d Quadruped,
The loss of thee has plainly made me stupid.
I know thy Dadd, thy Mother, and thy Grandsire,
But thou return’st to my complaints no answer.
Nor Hugmatee, nor Flip my grief can smother,
I lov’d thee, Dobbin, better than my Brother.
Since then so lame my Muse, so dull my Wit is,
I’le have thy Epitaph compos’d by Pittis.

[SOURCE:The Post Boy, issue for 8–11 April 1699 ]

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Elegy upon Dobbin, a Coach-horse", 5 September 2002 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/dobbin.htm>

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