Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Not yet the hawthorn bore her berries red,
With which the fieldfare, wintry gueft, is fed;
Nor autumn yet had brushed from every spray,
With her chill hand, the mellow leaves away;
But corn was housed, and beans were in the ftack,
Now therefore iffued forth the fpotted pack,
With tails high mounted, ears hung low, and throats,
With a whole gamut filled of heavenly notes,
For which, alas! my deftiny fevere,

Though ears the gave me two, gave me no ear.
The fun, accomplishing his early march,
His lamp now planted on heaven's topmoft arch,
When, exercife and air my only aim,

And heedlefs 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.

[ocr errors]

Sheep grazed the field; fome with soft bofom preffed The herb as foft, while nibbling ftrayed the reft; Nor noife was heard but of the hafty brook, Struggling, detained in many a petty nook. All seemed fo peaceful, that from them conveyed To me, their peace by kind contagion spread.

*Two woods belonging to John Throckmorton, Efq.

But when the huntfman, with diftended cheek, 'Gan make his inftrument of mufic fpeak, And from within the wood that crafh was heard,

Though not a hound from whom it burft appeared,
The sheep recumbent, and the fheep that grazed,
All huddling into phalanx, ftood and gazed,
Admiring, terrified, the novel ftrain,

Then courfed the field around, and courfed it round again;
But, recollecting with a fudden thought,

That flight in circles urged advanced them nought,
They gathered clofe around the old pit's brink,
And thought again-but knew not what to think.
The man to folitude accuftomed long,

Perceives in every thing that lives a tongue;
Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees,
Have speech for him, and understood with cafe;
After long drought, when rains abundant fall,
He hears the herbs and flowers rejoicing all;
Knows what the freshness of their hue implies,
How glad they catch the largess of the fkies;
But, with precifion nicer ftill, the mind
He fcans of every loco-motive kind;

Birds of all feather, beafts of every name,

That ferve mankind, or hun them, wild or tame;
The looks and geftures of their griefs and fears
Have all articulation in his ears;

He spells them true by intuition's light,
And needs no gloffary to fet him right.

This truth premised was needful as a text,
To win due credence to what follows next.
Awhile they mufed; furveying every face,
Thou hadft supposed them of fuperior race;
Their periwigs of wool, and fears combined,
Stamped on each countenance fuch marks of mind,
That fage they feemed, as lawyers o'er a doubt,
Which, puzzling long, at laft they puzzle out;
Or academic tutors, teaching youths,

Sure ne'er to want them, mathematic truths;
When thus a mutton, ftatelier than the reft,
A ram, the ewes and wethers fad, addreffed.
Friends we have lived too long. I never heard
Sounds fuch as thefe, fo worthy to be feared.
Could I believe that winds for ages pent

In earth's dark womb have found at laft a vent,
And from their prifon-house below arife,
With all thefe hideous howlings to the skies,
I could be much compofed, nor should appear
For fuch a caufe to feel the flighteft fear.
Yourfelves have feen, what time the thunders rolled
All night, we refting 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 afs; for he, we know, has lately ftrayed,
And being loft perhaps, and wandering wide,
Might be supposed to clamour for a guide.
But ah! thofe dreadful yells what foul can hear,
That owns a carcafe, and not quake for fear?
Dæmons produce them doubtlefs, brazen-clawed
And fanged with brass the dæmons are abroad;
I hold it therefore wifeft and moft fit,
That life to fave, we leap into the pit.

Him anfwered then his loving mate and true,
But more difcreet than he, a Cambrian ewe.
How? leap into the pit our life to fave?
To fave our life leap all into the grave?
For can we find it lefs? Contemplate first
The depth how awful! falling there, we burfti
Or should the brambles, interpofed, our fall
In part abate, that happiness were small;
For with a race like theirs no chance I fee
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 whofe it may,

And rush those other founds, that feem by tongues
Of dæmons uttered, from whatever lungs,
Sounds are but founds, and till the caufe appear

We have at leaft commodious standing here.

Come fiend, come fury, giant, monster, blaft
From earth or hell, we can but plunge at laft.

While thus fhe spake, I fainter heard the peals,
For Reynard, clofe attended at his heels

By panting dog, tired man, and fpattered horse,
Through mere good fortune, took a different course,
The flock grew calm again, and I, the road
Following, that led me to my own abode,
Much wondered that the filly sheep had found
Such cause of terror in an empty found

So sweet to huntsman, gentleman, and hound.

MORAL.

Beware of defperate fteps. The darkest day,
Live till to-morrow, will have passed away.

[ocr errors]

}

« ForrigeFortsett »