The Mimick Dog

"The Mimicke or Getulian Dogge," is, I take it, meant for a poodle. It

was "apt to imitate al things it seeth, for which cause some have

thought that it was conceived by an Ape, for in wit and disposition it

resembleth an Ape, but in face, sharpe and blacke like an Hedgehog,

having a short recurved body, very long legs, shaggy haire, and a short

taile: this is called of some Canis Lucernarius. These being brought

up wi
h apes in their youth, learne very admirable and strange feats,

whereof there were great plenty in Egypt in the time of king

Ptolemy, which were taught to leap, play, and dance, at the hearing of

musicke, and in many poore men's houses they served insteed of servaunts

for divers uses.

"These are also used by Plaiers and Puppet-Mimicks to worke straunge

trickes, for the sight whereof they get much money; such an one was the

Mimick's dog, of which Plutarch writeth that he saw in a publicke

spectacle at Rome before the Emperor Vespasian. The dog was taught to

act a play, wherein were contained many persons' parts, I mean the

affections of many other dogs; at last, there was given him a piece of

bread, wherein, as was saide, was poison, having vertue to procure a

dead sleepe, which he received and swallowed; and presently, after the

eating thereof, he began to reele and stagger too and fro like a drunken

man, and fell downe to the ground, as if he had bin dead, and so laie a

good space, not stirring foot nor lim, being drawne uppe and downe by

divers persons, according as the gesture of the play he acted did

require, but when he perceived by the time, and other signes that it was

requisite to arise, he first opened his eies, and lift up his head a

little, then stretched forth himself, like as one doth when he riseth

from sleepe; at last he geteth up, and runneth to him to whom that part

belonged, not without the joy, and good content of Caesar and all other


"To this may be added another story of a certaine Italian about the

yeare 1403, called Andrew, who had a red Dog with him, of strange

feats, and yet he was blind. For standing in the Market place compassed

about with a circle of many people, there were brought by the standers

by, many Rings, Jewels, bracelets, and peeces of gold and silver, and

these, within the circle were covered with earth, then the dog was bid

to seeke them out, who with his nose and feet did presently find and

discover them, then was hee also commaunded to give to every one his

owne Ring, Jewell, Bracelet, or money, which the blind dog did performe

directly without stay or doubt. Afterward, the standers by, gave unto

him divers pieces of coine, stamped with the images of sundry princes,

and then one of them called for a piece of English money, and the Dog

delivered him a piece; another for the Emperor's coine, and the dog

delivered him a piece thereof; and so consequently, every princes coine

by name, till all was restored; and this story is recorded by Abbas

Urspergensis, where upon the common people said, the dog was a divell,

or else possessed with some pythonicall spirit."

It is curious to note some of the remedies against hydrophobia--and I

only give a portion of the long list.

"For the outward compound remedies, a plaister made of Opponax and

Pitch, is much commended, which Menippus used, taking a pound of Pitch

of Brutias, and foure ounces of Opponax, adding withall, that the

Opponax must be dissolved in vinegar, and afterwards the Pitch and the

vinegar must be boiled together, and when the vinegar is consumed, then

put in the Opponax, and of both together make like taynters or

splints, and thrust them into the wound, so let them remaine many dayes

together, and in the meane time drinke an antidot of sea crabs and

vineger, (for vineger is alway pretious in this confection). Other use

Basilica, Onyons, Rue, Salt, Rust of Iron, white bread, seedes of hore

hound, and triacle: but the other plaister is most forcible to be

applyed outwardly, above al medicines in the world.

"For the simple or uncompounded medicines to be taken against this sore,

are many: As Goose-grease, the roote of Wilde roses drunke; bitter

Almonds, leaves of Chickweed, or Pimpernell, the old skinne of a snake

pounded with a male sea Crab, Betony, Cabbage-leaves, or stalkes, with

Persneps and vineger, lime and sewet, poulder of Sea-Crabs with Hony;

poulder of the shels of Sea-Crabs, the haires of a Dog layed on the

wound, the head of the Dog which did bite, mixed with a little

Euphorbium; the haire of a man with vineger, dung of Goates with wine,

Walnuts with Hony and salte, poulder of fig tree in a sear cloth,

Fitches in wine, Euphorbium, warme horse-dung, raw beanes chewed in

the mouth, fig tree leaves, greene figs with vineger, fennel stalkes,

Gentians, dung of pullen, the Lyver of a Buck-goate, young swallowes,

burned to poulder, also their dung; the urine of a man, an Hyaena's skin,

flower de luce with honey, a Sea hearb called Kakille, Silphum with

salt, the flesh and shels of snayles, leeke seeds with salt, mints, the

taile of a field mouse cut off from her alive, and she suffered to live,

rootes of Burres, with salt of the Sea plantaine, the tongue of a Ramme

with salt, the flesh of al Sea-fishes, the fat of a sea-Calfe and

Vervine, besides many other superstitious amulets which are used to be

bound to the Armes, neckes, and brests, as the Canine tooth bound up in

a leafe, and tyed to the Arme. A worme bred in the dung of Dogges,

hanged about the necke, the roots of Gentian in an Hyaena's skin, or

young Wolfe's Skin, and such like; whereof I know no reason beside the

opinion of men."

Let us now see what medicinal properties exist in dogs themselves; and,

here again, I must very much curtail the recital of their benefits to


"The vertues of a Dog's head made into poulder, are both many and

unspeakable, by it is the biting of mad dogs cured, it cureth spots, and

bunches in the head, and a plaister thereof made with Oyle of Roses,

healeth the running in the head. The poulder of the teeth of Dogges,

maketh Children's teeth to come forth with speed and easie, and, if

their gums be rub'd with a dog's tooth, it maketh them to have the

sharper teeth; and the poulder of these Dogs teeth rubbed upon the

Gummes of young or olde, easeth toothache, and abateth swelling in the

gummes. The tongue of a Dogge, is most wholesome both for the curing of

his owne wounds by licking, as also of any other creature. The rennet of

a Puppy drunke with Wine, dissolveth the Collicke in the same houre

wherein it was drunke," &c., &c., &c.