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A Short Analysis of Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘To A Lady With An Unruly And Ill-Mannered Dog Who Bit Several Persons Of Importance’

‘To A Lady With An Unruly And Ill-Mannered Dog Who Bit Several Persons Of Importance’ is a long title for what is not that long a poem. Its author was Sir Walter Raleigh – not the Elizabethan and Jacobean explorer and poet (who didn’t introduce tobacco and potatoes to Europe), but the Professor of English Literature named Sir Walter Raleigh (1861-1922). Raleigh was, notably, the first person to hold a Chair in English Literature at the University of Oxford. Raleigh was also a successful poet, as ‘To A Lady With An Unruly And Ill-Mannered Dog Who Bit Several Persons Of Importance’ demonstrates.

Your dog is not a dog of grace;
He does not wag the tail or beg;
He bit Miss Dickson in the face;
He bit a Bailie in the leg.

What tragic choices such a dog
Presents to visitor or friend!
Outside there is the Glasgow fog;
Within, a hydrophobic end.

Yet some relief even terror brings,
For when our life is cold and gray
We waste our strength on little things,
And fret our puny souls away. Read the rest of this entry

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