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But corn was hous'd, and beans were in the stack;
Now therefore issu'd forth the spotted pack,
With tails high mounted, ears hung low, and throats,
With a whole gamut fill'd of heav'nly notes,
For which, alas ! my destiny severe,
Though ears she gave me two, gave me no ear.
The sun, accomplishing his early march,
His lamp now planted on Heav'n's topmost arch,
When, exercise and air my only aim,
And heedless whither, to that field I came,
Ere yet with ruthless joy the happy hound
Told hill and dale that Reynard's track was found,
Or with the high-rais'd horn's melodious clang
All Kilwick* and all Dinglederry* rang.
Sheep graz’d the field ; some with soft bosom press’d
The herb as soft, while nibbling stray'd the rest ;
Nor noise was heard but of the hasty brook,
Struggling, detain'd in many a petty nook.
All seer'd so peaceful, that, from them convey'd,
To me their peace by kind contagion spread.
But when the huntsman with distended cheek,
'Gan make his instrament of musick speak,
And from within the wood that crash was heard,
Though not a hound from whom it burst appear'd,
The sheep recumbent, and the sheep that graz’d,
All huddling into phalanx, stood and gaz'd,
Admiring, terrified, the novel strain,
Then cours’d the field around, and cours'd it round
But, recollecting with a sudden thought,
That fight in circles urg'd advanc'd them nought,
They gather'd close around the old pit's brink,
And thought again—but knew not what to think.
* Two woods-belonging to John Throckmorton, Esq.
The man to solitude accustom'd long
Perceives in every thing that lives a tongue ;
Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees,
Have speech for him, and understood with ease;
After long drought when rains abundant fall,
He hears the herbs and flow'rs rejoicing all ;
Knows what the freshness of their hue implies,
How glad they catch the largess of the skies ;
But, with precision nicer still, the mind
He scans of ev'ry locomotive kind ;
Birds of all feather, beasts of ev'ry name,
That serve mankind, or shun them, wild or tame;
The looks and gestures of their griefs and fears
Have all articulation in his ears ;
He spells them true by intuition's light,
And needs no glossary to set him right.
This truth premis'd was needful as a text, To win due credence to what follows next.
Awhile they mus'd ; surveying ev'ry face,
Thou hadst suppos’d them of superiour race;
Their periwigs of wool, and fears combin'd
Stamp'd on each countenance such marks of mind,
'That sage they seem'd as lawyers o'er a doubt,
Which, puzzling long, at last they puzzle out ;
Or academick tutors, teaching youths,
Sure ne'er to want them, mathematick truths ;
When thus a mutton, statelier than the rest,
A ram, the ewes and wethers sad, address'd.
Friends! we have liv'd too long. I never heard
Sounds such as these, so worthy to be fear'd.
Could I believe, that winds for ages pent
In Earth's dark womb have found at last a vent,
And from their prison-house below arise,
With all these hideous howlings to the skies,
I could be much compos’d, nor should appear,
For such a cause, to feel the slightest fear.
Yourselves have seen, what time the thunders roll'd
All night, me resting quiet in the fold,
Or heard we that tremendous bray alone,
I could expound the melancholy tone;
Should deem it by our old companion made,
The ass ; for he, we know, has lately stray'd,
And being lost, perhaps, and wand'ring wide,
Might be suppos'd to clamour for a guide.
But ah! those dreadful yells what soul can hear
That owns a carcass and not quake for fear?
Demons produce them doubtless, brazen-claw'd,
And fang'd with brass, the dæmons are abroad;
I hold it therefore wisest and most fit,
That, life to save, we leap into the pit.
Him answer'd then his loving mate and true,
But more discreet than he, a Cambrian ewe.
How ! leap into the pit our life to save? To save our life leap all into the grave ? For can we find it less ? Contemplate first The depth how awful ! falling there we burst ; Or should the brambles, interpos'd, our fall In part abate, that happiness were small : For with a race like theirs no chance I see Of peace or ease to creatures clad as we. Meantime, noise kills not. Be it Dapple's bray, Or be it not, or be it whose it may, And rush those other sounds, that seem by tongues Of demons utter'd from whatever lungs, Sounds are but sounds, and till the cause appear, We have at least commodious standing here. Come fiend, come fury, giant, monster, blast From Earth or Hell, we can but plunge at last.
While thus she spake, I fainter heard the peals, For Reynard, close attended at his heels By panting dog, tir'd man, and spatter'd horse, Through mere good fortune, took a diff'rent course.
The flock grew calm again, and I the road
Foll’wing, that led me to my own abode.
Much wonder'd that the silly sheep had found
Such cause of terrour in an empty sound,
So sweet to huntsman, gentleman, and hound.
MORAL. Beware of desp'rate steps. The darkest day, Live till to-morrow, will have pass'd away.
WHEN the British warriour queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Sought with an indignant mien,
Counsel of her country's gods.
Sage beneath the spreading oak
Sat the Druid, hoary chief;
Ev'ry burning word he spoke
Full of rage, and full of grief
Princess! if our aged eyes
Weep upon thy matchless wrong..
'Tis because resentment ties
Al the terrours of our tongues.
Rome shall perish-write that word
In the blood that she hast spilld ; Perish, hopeless and abhorr’d,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
Rome, for empire far renown'd,
Tramples on a thousand states; Soon her pride shall kiss the groundHark! the Gaul is at her gates !
VI. Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier's name ; Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize, Harmony the path to fame.
Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,
Arm'd with thunder, clad witir wings,
Shall a wider world command.
VIII. Regions Cæsar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway;
Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they.
Such the bard's prophetick words,
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre.
She, with all a monarch's pride,
Felt them in her bosom glow;
Rush'd to battle, fought, and died;
Dying hurl'd them at the foe.