Saturday, February 5, 2011

Boothby: The Embassy of the Dogs to Jupiter

The Dogs sent deputies to Jove,
His pity for their state to move;
"Of man they liv'd in constant dread,
Were buffeted about," they said,
"And with the vilest offals fed."
As idly loitering they came on,
Amongst some dung they found a bone.
Summon'd at levee to appear,
Their Excellencies were not there.
And sought by Hermes' order round,
Were feeding on a dunghill found.
Brought to the audience, when they saw
Jove's dreadful face, o'ercome with awe,
They cack'd on the celestial floors,
And straight were cudgell'd out of doors;
But Jove forbid to send away.
The Dogs, surpris'd at their delay,
Suspecting something might be wrong,
Others resolv'd to send along;
And as mean while the trump of fame
Had bruited the others' shame,
These to dispatch e'er they presume,
They fig their bottoms with perfume.
Arriv'd, in haste to court they come;
And usher'd to the presence-room,
The doors expand; great Jove they see
Enthron'd in clouded majesty;
The thunder rolls, Olympus shakes,
And every Dog with terror quakes;
And spite of all the curs could do,
Out squirts perfume and ordure too.
This second insult all enrages,
Guards, ushers, chamberlains, and pages,
Who, lowly bending, one and all
For vengeance on the culprits call.
"Envoys," says Jove, "we must respect,
Yet not to punish these neglect.
Dismiss them not; but 'tis my will
Their bellies they no more shall fill,
Lest they again our nose offend:
And those such deputies that send
Must never more of man complain;
Our pity they would move in vain."
Whether they e'er return'd or no,
From history we do not know;
But dogs e'er since smell dogs behind,
Their lost ambassadors to find.

Source: Boothby - Phaedrus 4.16.

(image source)
M0771 Perry517

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