Tray Poem by Robert Browning


Rating: 4.5

Sing me a hero! Quench my thirst
Of soul, ye bards!
Quoth Bard the first:
'Sir Olaf, the good knight, did don
His helm, and eke his habergeon ...'
Sir Olaf and his bard——!

'That sin-scathed brow' (quoth Bard the second),
'That eye wide ope as tho' Fate beckoned
My hero to some steep, beneath
Which precipice smiled tempting Death ...'
You too without your host have reckoned!

'A beggar-child' (let's hear this third!)
'Sat on a quay's edge: like a bird
Sang to herself at careless play,
And fell into the stream. 'Dismay!
Help, you the standers-by!' None stirred.

'Bystanders reason, think of wives
And children ere they risk their lives.
Over the balustrade has bounced
A mere instinctive dog, and pounced
Plumb on the prize. 'How well he dives!

''Up he comes with the child, see, tight
In mouth, alive too, clutched from quite
A depth of ten feet—twelve, I bet!
Good dog! What, off again? There's yet
Another child to save? All right!

''How strange we saw no other fall!
It's instinct in the animal.
Good dog! But he's a long while under:
If he got drowned I should not wonder—
Strong current, that against the wall!

''Here lie comes, holds in mouth this time
—What may the thing be? Well, that's prime!
Now, did you ever? Reason reigns
In man alone, since all Tray's pains
Have fished—the child's doll from the slime!'

'And so, amid the laughter gay,
Trotted my hero off,—old Tray,—
Till somebody, prerogatived
With reason, reasoned: 'Why he dived,
His brain would show us, I should say.

''John, go and catch—or, if needs be,
Purchase that animal for me!
By vivisection, at expense
Of half-an-hour and eighteen pence,
How brain secretes dog's soul, we'll see!''

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: dog
Ramesh T A 03 February 2020

Wonderful composition on the bravery oof a dog by Poet Robert Browning noted well for his dramatic monologue more than anything else in Romantic literature! My favourite Poet!

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monica 15 September 2020

hi! please, could you send me a guide? thank you!

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Al Yarma 03 February 2020

I hope Tray escaped that vivisectionist, poor thing! High irony, that's for sure.

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Dr Antony Theodore 03 February 2020

By vivisection, at expense Of half-an-hour and eighteen pence, How brain secretes dog's soul, we'll see! '' very fine poem of Browning

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Edward Kofi Louis 03 February 2020

Zero! ! ! Oh sing me a hero! ! A hero's song. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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Aniruddha Pathak 03 February 2020

Beautifully constructed five stanzas in a typical rhyme scheme of five lines, with a touch of gallows humour, that is Robert Browning.

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Robert Browning

Robert Browning

London / England
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