Analysis Of The Woodman And His Dog By William Cowper

The Woodman And His Dog by William Cowper is a 17 lines poem about a lonely England Woodman whose most noticed companion was his dog. The Woodman, according to Cowper was going to his routine job of cutting and splitting forest woods, on a snowy day with his dog; he did not care for any cheerful visit of family, friends or neighbors: "Forth goes the woodman, leaving unconcerned/ The cheerful haunts of man, to wield the axe/ And drive the wedge in yonder forest drear" (line 1-3)

The woodman's dog was described as shaggy and lean and shrewd. The woodman liked his dog so much that the barking of his dog did annoy him; he even cleaned his dog's nose and more.

The Poet:-
The English poet, William Cowper, was 26-11-1731 but died 25-04-1800. His love for Christian hymns in his later years made him a hymnodist (after been institutionalized for insanity from 1763 to 1765). During the 18th century, Cowper changed the direction of poetry by writing about everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of
Romantic poetry. "Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him "the best modern poet", whilst William Wordsworth particularly admired
his poem Yardley-Oak . Cowper was a nephew of the poet Judith Madan." (according to Wikipedia article)
After being institutionalised for
insanity in the period 1763–65,
Cowper found refuge in a fervent
evangelical Christianity, the
inspiration behind his much-loved
hymns.

The Poem:-
Forth goes the woodman, leaving unconcerned
The cheerful haunts of man, to wield the axe
And drive the wedge in yonder forest drear,
From morn to eve his solitary task.
Shaggy, and lean, and shrewd, with pointed ears
And tail cropped short, half lurcher and half cur,
His dog attends him. Close behind his heel
Now creeps he slow; and now with many frisk
Wide scampering, snatches up the drifted snow
With ivory teeth, or ploughs it with his snout;
Then shakes his powdered coat, and barks for joy.
Heedless of all his pranks, the sturdy churl
Moves right toward the mark; nor stops for aught,
But now and then with pressure of his thumb
To adjust the fragrant charge of a short tube
That fumes beneath his nose: the trailing cloud
Streams far behind him, scenting all he air.

© Copyright:- William Cowper 1731-1800

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Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

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