The Presbyt’ry Dog [poem by John O’Brien]

[Editor: This poem by John O’Brien was published in Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, 1921.]

The Presbyt’ry Dog

Now of all the old sinners in mischief immersed,
From the ages of Gog and Magog,
At the top of the list, from the last to the first,
And by every good soul in the parish accursed,
Is that scamp of a Presbyt’ry Dog.

He’s a hairy old scoundrel as ugly as sin,
He’s a demon that travels incog.,
With a classical name, and an ignorant grin,
And a tail, by the way, that is scraggy and thin,
And the rest of him merely a dog.

He is like a young waster of fortune possessed,
As he rambles the town at a jog;
For he treats the whole world as a sort of a jest,
While the comp’ny he keeps — well, it must be confessed
It’s unfit for a Presbyt’ry Dog.

He is out on the street at the sound of a fight,
With the eyes on him standing agog,
And the scut of a tail — well, bedad, it’s a fright;
Faith, you’d give him a kick that would set him alight,
But you can’t with the Presbyt’ry Dog.

His rotundity now to absurdity runs,
Like a blackfellow gone to the grog;
For the knowing old shaver the presbyt’ry shuns
When it’s time for a meal, and goes off to the nuns,
Who’re deceived in the Presbyt’ry Dog.

When he follows the priest to the bush, there is war.
He inspects the whole place at a jog,
And he puts on great airs and fine antics galore,
While he chases the sheep till we’re after his gore,
Though he may be the Presbyt’ry Dog.

’Twas last Sunday a dog in the church went ahead
With an ill-bred and loud monologue,
And the priest said some things that would shiver the dead,
And I’m with him in every last word that he said —
Ah, but wait — ’twas the Presbyt’ry Dog.

Published in:
John O’Brien. Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1921

Editor’s notes:
bedad = an Irish exclamation, a euphemism for “By God”
Gog and Magog = an historical reference to Bible times, where (in the Book of Ezekiel) Gog is a ruler from the land of Magog; not to be confused with the Biblical prophecy in the Book of Revelation, where Gog and Magog are nations under the rule of Satan
Presbyt’ry Dog = in this context, a dog that comes from the presbytery (the priest’s residence)

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