« ForrigeFortsett »
Bijt corn was housed, and beans were in the stack,
Now therefore issued forth the spotted pack,
With tails high mounted, ears hung low, and throats
With a whole gamut filled of heavenly 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 heaven'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-raised horn's melodious clang All Kilwick* and all Dingle-derry* rang.
Sheep grazed the field; some with soft bosom
The herb as soft, while nibbling strayed the rest;
But when the huntsman, with distended cheek,
* Two woods belonging to John Throckmortorij Escj.
The sheep recumbent, and the sheep that grazed,
But, recollecting with a sudden thought,
The man to solitude accustomed long,
This truth premised was needful as a text, To win due credence to what follows next.
Awhile they mused; surveying every face, Thou hadst supposed them of superior race; Their periwigs of wool, and fears combined, Stamped on each countenance such marks of mind, That sage they seemed, as lawyers o'er a doubt, Which, puzzling long, at last they puzzle out; Or academic tutors, teaching youths, Sure ne'er to want them, mathematic truths; When thus a mutton, statelier than the rest, A ram, the ewes and wethers sad, addressed.
Friends! we have lived too long. I never heard Sounds such as these, so worthy to be feared. 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 bowlings to the skies, I could be much composed, nor should appear For such a cause to feel the slightest fear. Yourselves have seen, what time the thunders rolled All night, we 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 strayed, And being lost perhaps, and wandering wide, Might be supposed to clamour for a guide.
But ah! those dreadful yells what soul can hear,
Him answered 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, interposed, 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 uttered, from whatever tangs, Sounds are but sounds, and till the cause appear VVe have at least commodious standing here. Come fiend, come fury, giant, monster, blast From earth or hell, we c.,.. but plunge at last.
While thus she spake, I fainter heard the peals, For Reynard, close attended at his heels
By panting dog, tired man, and spattered horse,
Such cause of terror in an empty sound
So sweet to huntsman, gentleman, and hound.
Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
When the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Counsel of her country's gods,
Sat the Dr'nid, hoary chief;
Full of rage, and full of grief.