Going to Dover

"Leg over leg
   As the dog went to Dover;
When he came to a stile,
   Jump he went over."
1Perhaps you wouldn't see it here,
2But, to my fancy, 't is quite clear
3That Mother Goose just meant to show
4How the dog Patience on doth go:
5With steadfast nozzle, pointing low, --
6Leg over leg, however slow, --
7And labored breath, but naught complaining,
8Still, at each footstep, somewhat gaining, --
9Quietly plodding, mile on mile,
10  And gathering for a nervous bound
12  So traversing the tedious ground,
13Till all, at length, he measures over,
14And walks, a victor, into Dover.
15And, verily, no other way
16Doth human progress win the day;
17Step after step, -- and o'er and o'er, --
18Each seeming like the one before,
19So that 't is only once a while, --
21That marks a section of the plain,
22Beyond whose bound fresh fields again
23Their widening stretch untrodden sweep, --
24The world looks round to see the leap.
25Pale Science, in her laboratory,
26  Works on with crucible and wire
27Unnoticed, till an instant glory
28  Crowns some high issue, as with fire,
29And men, with wondering eyes awide,
30Gauge great Invention's giant stride.
31No age, no race, no single soul,
32By lofty tumbling gains the goal.
33The steady pace it keeps between, --
34The little points it makes unseen, --
35By these, achieved in gathering might,
36It moveth on, and out of sight,
37And wins, through all that's overpast,
38The city of it's hope at last.


11] stile: gated fence. Back to Line
20] springs: jumps over. Back to Line
Publication Notes: 
Whitney, Adeline Dutton Train, Mother Goose for Grown Folks (New York: Rudd & Carleton, 1860): 44-46.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire