Poetry, Verse and Rhymes; Games. 0763: Anon., The Dovecot
||The dovecot, or the raven's visit, a poetic tale. Second edition. Embellished with engravings
||'Printed by Brown, 14, Moor Street, Soho, for the author, and sold by all the booksellers'
||6d plain, 9d coloured
||1 vol., pp.23
||12 x 9.5 cm
||Four full-page engravings
Images of all pages of this book
The dovecot is an anthropomorphic tale which falls somewhere between 'Who Killed Cock-Robin' and Sarah Trimmer's Fabulous Histories (see 0241-0245). It tells the tale of two doves, a devoted husband and wife who call one another names such as 'Spousy'. When a raven spots the husband consorting with 'Mrs. Ruffleneck' he immediate flies to the dovecot to inform the female dove of her husband's infidelity. His gossiping does not convince the dove, though, and the return of her husband soon solves the mystery. The raven is shown to be an interfering busybody and gossip-monger, and the family of doves combine to pluck his feathers out. This is in despite of the fact that the raven is a priest in this bird world (see p.12 and the engraving on p.16, and claims to have been doing his duty in bringing comfort to those he thinks are afflicted. Such anti-clericalism is not especially out of keeping with the poem as a whole, which is neither light-hearted and comical, as such children's animal verses usually are, nor moral and pious as Trimmer's Histories of the Robins was. Rather, The dovecot has the character of a social satire, or an Aesopian fable, written to warn against officiousness and gossiping.