hence thou dog of hell

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Senior Member
Hi, this is from The Noble Spanish Soldier written by Thomas Dekker.

Rise my good angel,
Whose holy tunes beat from me that evil spirit
Which jogs mine elbow, hence thou dog of hell.

I understood it as follows (if I am wrong, please correct me):
Rise, my good angel (protect me)
your holy singing rids me of evil
which leads my hand/nudges me ...

I don't understand the last part at all. I've checked that "hence" can mean "from a point" and "thou" should mean "you" but it doesn't make sense... Can you help?
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Remember this is written in verse. The sentence is:

    [Your holy tunes] beat from me that evil spirit which jogs mine elbow. "Hence thou dog of hell!" .

    He asks the angel to arise and rid him of the evil spirit who is constantly following him around and nudging his elbow.

    He then speaks to the evil spirit. "Get away from me you dog of hell!"

    "hence" = 'from here'.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member

    I think the punctuation is, if not exactly wrong, then at least misleading. On its own, "Hence, thou dog of hell!", would mean "Go away, you!" - the "dog of hell" is the evil spirit referred to in the second line of the quotation, but is being addressed directly. There is no verb in the expression, but "hence..." can be used as a kind of exclamatory imperative, especially in older or more literary language - I bet there are examples in Shakespeare, though none comes immediately to mind at the moment.

    For clarity, I would rather have punctuated with either a colon or an em-dash after "elbow".

    Does this help?


    Sorry, cross-posted.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I forgot to mention that "to jog someone's elbow" is an idiom. It means "to covertly attract someone's attention".

    You are at an important meeting and your friend is sitting next to you. You are currently speaking but you have forgotten an important point. Your friend jogs (nudges) your elbow with his, to attract your attention. You look at him and he mouths some words to remind you of the vital point.

    In the context of the verse, we could extrapolate that the evil spirit is not only following him around but is always trying to get him to sin by pointing out temptations.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you again:)
    Can it be substituted with "leading my hand" or is that too strong?
    I don't think that works. 'Leading someone's hand' isn't regular English as far as I know. In any case the devil (or his minions) are never allowed to lead, they are only allowed to tempt and distract if my understanding of the relevant mythology is correct.
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