The DOG and his MASTER, "NO better Dog e'er kept his Master's Door, 1713 Miscellany. See Annotated Chronology No. 203. See also an Annotated List matching each of Finch's fables with its sources; and an Annotated Bibliography: Primary and Secondary Sources for all Finch's translations (paraphrases), imitations and adaptations.

From "A Dog and his Master," by Sir Roger L'Estrange, Fables of Aesop, and Other Eminent Mythologists with Morals and Reflections, London, 1692, Part 1, No. 484, pp. 455-456.

There was an Excellent House-Dog, that spent his whole Night sitll in Bawling and Snarling at all People Indifferently that pass'd within Hearing of him. His Master took him to Task once for Barking and yelling so at every Body that came near him, without Distinction. Why what have you a Nose for, says he, but to smell out a Thief from an Honest Man? I will not have ye so much as Open your Mouth, I tell ye at a Venture thus. Sir, says the mastiff, 'tis out of the Zeal I have for your Service; and yet, when all is done too, I would I had no more to Answer for, then giving False Alarums and Barking out of Season. You may fancy perhaps, that there are No other Thieves than those that the Law Exposes to the Pillory, or a Whipping Post; or to a Turn perchance at Tyburn the next Sessions. You'll find your self Mistaken Sir, if you'll take upon ye to Judge of these Blades by their Garbs, Look, and outward Appearance: But if I get them in the Wind once, I'll tell ye which is which, to the very Hearts and Souls of 'em, without the Ceremony of either Bench, Witnesses or Jury. Nay, says the Master, if you should happen to Spy a Knight of the Post, a Catch-pole, a Jayler, a Pawn-broker, a High-way-man, a Crop-Ear'd Scriv'ner, a Griping Usurer, a Corrupt Judge, or any of these Vermin, pray'e Cry out Thief, and spare not: and I beseech ye Sir, says the Dog, what if it should be Pettifogging Splitter of Causes, a Turncoat, Ecclesiastical, Military or Civil; a Trading Justice, a Mortal Enemy under the Mask of a Friend: A Glozing Hypocrite: Or in One word, let it be in an other Case or Encounter whatsoever; You will find it Twenty Thousand to One upon the whole Matter, that I Bark right.


The History of Cheats and Sharpers truly Written, would be no other then the History of Human Nature.


'Tis an Unhappy thing both for Master and Servant, when the Love, Loyalty, and Zeal of the One, shall be Ill Taken at the Hands of the Other… The Master here was in anoher Mistake too, in supposing that all HouseBreakers and Sharpers had Thief written in their Foreheads; whereas the most Dangerous sort of Cheats, are but Masqueraders, under the Vizor of Friends and Honest Men… [The Dog] did Wisely in't; for he that keeps himself upon this Guard, shall never be Couzen'd…

Comment: Although the differences are strong, L'Estrange's title, general narrative movement, and examples of the Whipping Post and Pillory (in Finch: "Whips and Tyburn") show that Finch recalls, if she is not imitating, this specific text, as she writes a new anti-court fable within the tradition of the "cynical dog" who guarding his master's door.

Page Last Updated 8 January 2003