The Song of Quoodle

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This poem by G.K. Chesterton was a favorite of J.R.R. Tolkien’s. Written from a dog’s perspective, it was one of several that he knew by heart from Chesterton’s brilliant and rollicking “The Flying Inn”.

“The Song of Quoodle” by G.K. Chesterton from The Flying Inn

“They haven’t got no noses
The fallen sons of Eve,
Even the smell of roses
Is not what they supposes,
But more than mind discloses,
And more than men believe.

“They haven’t got no noses,
They cannot even tell
When door and darkness closes
The park a Jew encloses,
Where even the Law of Moses
Will let you steal a smell;

“The brilliant smell of water,
The brave smell of a stone,
The smell of dew and thunder
And old bones buried under,
Are things in which they blunder
And err, if left alone.

“The wind from winter forests,
The scent of scentless flowers,
The breath of bride’s adorning,
The smell of snare and warning,
The smell of Sunday morning,
God gave to us for ours.

“And Quoodle here discloses
All things that Quoodle can;
They haven’t got no noses,
They haven’t got no noses,
And goodness only knowses
The Noselessness of Man.”

Read more here about The Flying Inn from the American Chesterton Society.

“There lay about in Lord Ivywood’s numerous gardens, terraces, outhouses, stable yards and similar places, a dog that came to be called by the name of Quoodle. Lord Ivywood did not call him Quoodle. Lord Ivywood was almost physically incapable of articulating such sounds. Lord Ivywood did not care for dogs. He cared for the Cause of dogs, of course; and he cared still more for his own intellectual self-respect and consistency. He would never have permitted a dog in his house to be physically ill-treated; nor, for that matter, a rat; nor, for that matter, even a man. But if Quoodle was not physically ill-treated, he was at least socially neglected, and Quoodle did not like it. For dogs care for companionship more than for kindness itself…”

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