First published in January 1928, in the Strand Magazine and Cosmopolitan (New York) The poem t later appeared in various anthologies, including Collected Dog Stories (also illustrated by Stampa).
Also collected in Inclusive Verse (1933) Definitive Verse (1940) and the Sussex and Burwash editions.
Carrie Kipling’s diary for August 14th 1927 notes: ‘‘The Dog’s Prayer (finished 24 Aug)’.
.Kipling’s dog stories and poems include:
- “Thy Servant a Dog”
- “The Great Play Hunt”
- “Toby Dog”
- “The Supplication of the Black Aberdeen”
- “A Sea Dog”
- “His Apologies”
- “Teem— a Treasure-Hunter”
Notes on the Terxt
whither shall I go? Biblical language. See Genesis 37.30; 1 Samuel 2.1; and especially ps. 139.7:
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”.
The plea not to “forsake me” is also one the psalmist makes repeatedly to God: ps. 27.9, 10; 38.21; 71.9,18; 119.8.
my refuge frequently said of God in Biblical prayers, e.g. ps. 57.1; 62.7; 91.2, 9; 94.22; 142.5.
unclean and wicked”] For this combination in the Bible, see Ecclesiastes 9.2: “All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean
deny me The words used by Christ to St Peter (Matthew 26;34):
Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice
so also Mark 14.30; Luke 22.61)
Of course, all this Biblical language plays to the poem’s idea that his master is a god to the dog.
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