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The Sabbath comes, a day of blessed rest :
What hallows it upon this Christian shore ?
Lo! it is sacred to a solemn feast :
Hark! heard you not the forest-monarch's roar ?
Crashing the lance, he snuff's the spouting gore
Of man and steed, o'erthrown beneath his horn ;
The throng'd arena shakes with shouts for more;
Yells the mad crowd o’er entrails freshly torn,
Nor shrinks the female eye, nor ev'n affects to mourn.
The seventh day this; the jubilee of man.
London ! right well thou know'st the day of prayer
Then thy spruce citizen, wash'd artisan,
And smug apprentice gulp their weekly air :
Thy coach of Hackney, whiskey, one-horse chair,
And humblest gig through sundry suburbs whirl ;
To Hampstead, Brentford, Harrow make repair ;
Till the tired jade the wheel forgets to hurl,
Provoking envious gibe from each pedestrian churl.
Some o'er thy Thamis row the ribbon’d fair,
Others along the safer turnpike fly;
Some Richmoud-hill ascend, some scud to Ware,
And many to the steep of Highgate hie.
Ask ye, Boeotian shades ! the reason why ?56
'Tis to the worship of the solemn Horn,
Grasp'd in the holy hand of Mystery,
In whose dread name both men and maids are sworn, And consecrate the oath with draight, and dance till
All have their fooleries—not alike are thine,
Fair Cadiz, rising o'er the dark blue sea !
Soon as the matin bell proclaimeth nine,
Thy saint adorers count the rosary :
Much is the Virgin teased to shrive them free
(Well do I ween the only virgin there)
From crimes as numerous as her beadsmen be ;
Then to the crowded circus forth they fare :
Young, old, high, low, at once the same diversion share.
The lists are oped, the spacious area clear'd,
Thousands on thousands piled are seated round ;
Long ere the first loud trumpet's note is heard,
Ne vacant space for lated wight is found :
Here dons, grandees, but chiefly dames abound,
Skill'd in the ogle of a roguish eye,
Yet ever well inclined to heal the wound;
None through their cold disdain are doom'd to die,
As moon-struck bards complain, by Love's sad archery.
Hush'd the din of tongues-on gallant steeds,
With milk-whitecrest, gold spur,and light-poised lance,
Four cavaliers prepare for venturous deeds,
And lowly bending to the lists advance;
Rich are their scarfs, their chargers featly prance :
If in the dangerous game they shine to-day,
The crowd's loud shout and ladies' lovely glance,
Best prize of better acts, they bear away,
And all that kings or chiefs e'er gain their toils repay.
In costly sheen and gaudy cloak array’d,
But all afoot, the light-limb'd Matadore
Stands in the centre, eager to invade
The lord of lowing herds ; but not before
The ground, with cautious tread, is traversed o'er,
Lest aught unseen should lurk to thwart his speed:
His arms a dart, he fights aloof, nor more
Can man achieve without the friendly steed-
Alas! too oft condemn'd for him to bear and bleed.
Thrice sounds the clarion ; lo ! the signal falls,
The den expands, and Expectation mute
Gapes round the silent circle's peopled walls.
Bounds with one lashing spring the mighty brute,
And, wildly staring, spurns, with sounding foot,
The sand, nor blindly rushes on his foe :
Here, there, he points his threatening front, to suit
His first attack, wide waving to and fro
His angry tail; red rolls his eye's dilated glow.
Sudden he stops ; his eye is fix'd : away,
Away, thou heedless boy! prepare the spear:
Now is thy time to perish, or display
The skill that yet may check his mad career.
With well-timed croupe the nimble coursers veer ; **
On foams the bull, but not unscathed he goes ;
Streams from his flank the crimson torrent clear :
He flies, he wheels, distracted with his throes ;
Dart follows dart ; lance, lance; loud bellowings speak
Again he comes ; nor dart nor lance avail,
Nor the wild plunging of the tortured horse ;
Though man and man's avenging arms assail,
Vain are his weapons, vainer is his force.
One gallant steed is stretch'd a mangled corse ;
Another, hideous sight ! unseam'd appears,
His gory chest unveils life's panting source ;
Though death-struck, still his feeble frame he reais ; Staggering, but stemming all, his lord unharm'd he be:urs.
Foil'd, bleeding, breathless, furious to the last,
Full in the centre stands the bull at bay,
Mid wounds, and clinging darts, and lances brast,
And foes disabled in the brutal fray:
And now the Matadores around him play,
Shake the red cloak, and poise the ready brand :
Once more through all he bursts his thundering way-
Vain rage! the mantle quits the conynge hand, Wraps his fierce eye-'tis past-he sinks upon the
sand : 59
Where his vast neck just mingles with the spine,
Sheathed in his form the deadly weapon lies.
He stops—he starts—disdaining to decline :
Slowly he falls, amidst triumphant cries,
Without a groan, without a struggle dies.
The decorated car appears-on high
The corse is piled-sweet sight for vulgar eyes—— 60
Four steeds that spurn the rein, as swift as shy, Hurl the dark bulk along, scarce seen in dashing hy.