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Swift's Peculiarity Of Humor
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Roger Cox




Cossing A Dog

Irish Humour Home






In a humorous paper written in 1732, entitled, An Examination of
certain Abuses, Corruptions, and Enormities in the city of Dublin,
Swift mentions this diversion, which he ludicrously enough applies to
the violent persecutions of the political parties of the day. The
ceremony was this: A strange dog happens to pass through a flesh market;
whereupon an expert butcher immediately cries in a loud voice and proper
tone, coss, coss, several times. The same word is repeated by the
people. The dog, who perfectly understands the terms of art, and
consequently the danger he is in, immediately flies. The people, and
even his own brother animals, pursue: the pursuit and cry attend him
perhaps half a mile; he is well worried in his flight; and sometimes
hardly escapes. This, adds Swift, our ill-wishers of the Jacobite
kind are pleased to call a persecution; and affirm, that it always falls
upon dogs of the Tory principles.





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