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A subtle, pilfering foe, prowling around
Wide-gaping threatens death. The craggy steep, In midnight shades, and wakeful to destroy. Where the poor dizzy shepherd crawls with care, In the full fold, the poor defenceless lamb, And clings to every twig, gives us no pain; Seiz'd by his guileful arts, with sweet warm blood But down we sweep, as stoops the falcon bold Supplies a rich repast. The mournful ewe, To pounce his prey. Then up th' opponent hill, Her dearest treasure lost, through the dun night By the swist motion slung, we mount aloft: Wanders perplex'd, and darkling bleats in vain: So ships in winter-seas now sliding sink While in th' adjacent bush, poor Philomel Adown the steepy wave, then toss'd on high (Herself a parent once, till wanton churls Ride on the billows, and defy the storm. [Chase Despoil'd her nest) joins in her loud laments, What lengths we pass! where will the wandering With sweeter notes, and more melodious woe. Lead us bewilder'd! smooth as swallows skim
For these nocturnal thieves, huntsman, prepare The new-shorn mead, and far more swift, we fly. Thy sharpest vengeance. Oh! how glorious 'tis See my brave pack; how to the head they press, To right th' oppress'd, and bring the felon vile Jostling in close array then more diffuse To just disgrace! Ere yet the morning peep, Obliquely wheel, while from their opening mouths Or stars retire from the first blush of day, The vollied thunder breaks. So when the cranes With thy far-echoing voice alarm thy pack, Their annual voyage steer, with wanton wing And rouse thy bold compeers. Then to the copse, Their figure oft they change, and their loud clang Thick with entangling grass, or prickly furze, From cloud to cloud rebounds. How far behind With silence lead thy many-color'd hounds, The hunter-crew, wide-straggling o'er the plain! In all their beauty's pride. See! how they range The panting courser now with trembling nerves Dispers’d, how busily this way, and that, Begins to reel; urg'd by the goring spur, They cross, examining with curious nose Makes many a faint effort: he snorts, he foams, Each likely haunt. Hark! on the drag I hear The big round drops run trickling down his sides, Their doubtful notes, preluding to a cry
With sweat and blood distain'd. Look back and view
In vain th' impatient rider frets and swears;
For every cruel curse returns a groan,
No labor spar'd; who, when the flying Chase It gaily shine ; yet ere the Sun declin'd
Broke from the copse, without a rival led Recall the shades of night, the pamper'd rogue The numerous train : now a sad spectacle Shall rue his fate revers'd, and at his heels of pride brought low, and humbled insulence, Behold the just avenger, swift to seize
Drove like a pannier'd ass, and scourg'd along.
Heavens! what melodious strains ! how beat our Hang on their reeling palfreys, that scarce bear
Their pleasing toils. Here, huntsman, from this Bids the loud organ breathe, and all the powers
heigh Of music in one instrument combine,
Observe yon birds of prey; if I can judge, An universal minstrelsy. And now
'Tis there the villain lurks : they hover round, In vain each earth he tries, the doors are barr'd And claim him as their own. Was I not right? Impregnable, nor is the covert safe;
See! there he creeps along; his brush he drags, He pants for purer air. Hark! what loud shouts And sweeps the mire impure; from his wide jaws Re-echo through the groves! he breaks away. His tongue unmoisten'd hangs; symptoms too sure Shrill horns proclaim his flight. Each straggling of sudden death. Ha! yet he flies, nor yields hound
To black despair. But one loose more, and all Strains o'er the lawn to reach the distant pack. His wiles are vain. Hark! through yon village now 'Tis triumph all and joy. Now, my brave youths, The rattling clamor rings. The barns, the cots, Now give a loose to the clean generous steed; And leafless elms, return the joyous sounds. Flourish the whip, nor spare the galling spur; Through every homestall, and through every yard But, in the madness of delight, forget
His midnight walks, panting, forlorn, he flies; Your fears. Far o'er the rocky hills we range, Through every hole he sneaks, through every jakes And dangerous our course ; but in the brave Plunging he wades besmear'd, and fondly hopes True courage never fails. In vain the stream In a superior stench to lose his own. In foaming eddies whirls; in vain the ditch But, faithful to the track, th' unerring hounds
With peals of echoing vengeance close pursue. And avenue to Death. Hither he calls
A lamb is plac'd, just ravish'd from his dam.
And hunger keen, and pungent thirst of blood, Stretch'd at his feet, applauds the glorious deed, Rouse up the slothful beast, he shakes his sides, And grateful calls us to a short repast :
Slow-rising from his lair, and stretches wide In the full glass the liquid amber smiles, His ravenous paws, with recent gore distain'd. Our native product; and his good old mate The forests tremble, as he roars aloud, With choicest viands heaps the liberal board, Impatient to destroy. O'erjoyed he hears To crown our triumphs, and reward our toils. The bleating innocent, that claims in vain
Here must th' instructive Muse (but with respect) The shepherd's care, and seeks with piteous moan Censure that numerous pack, that crowd of state. The foodful teat; himself, alas ! design'd With which the vain profusion of the great Another's meal. For now the greedy brute Covers the lawn, and shakes the trembling copse. Winds him from far; and leaping o'er the mound Pompous encumbrance! A magnificence To seize his trembling prey, headlong is plung'd Useless, vexatious! For the wily fox,
Into the deep abyss. Prostrate he lies Safe in th' increasing number of his foes, Astunnd and impotent. Ah! what avail Kens well the great advantage; slinks behind, Thine eyeballs flashing fire, thy length of tail, And slily creeps through the same beaten track, That lashes thy broad sides, thy jaws besmear'd And hunts them step by step: then views, escap’d, With blood and offals crude, thy shaggy mane With inward ecstacy, the panting throng
The terror of the woods, thy stately port, In their own footsteps puzzled, foil'd, and lost. And bulk enormous, since by stratagem So when proud eastern kings summon to arms Thy strength is foild ? Unequal is the strife, Their gaudy legions, from far distant climes When sovereign reason combats brutal rage. They flock in crowds, unpeopling half a world : On distant Ethiopia's sun-burnt coasts, But when the day of battle calls them forth The black inhabitants a pitfall frame, To charge the well-train'd foe, a band compact But of a different kind, and different use. of chosen veterans; they press blindly on, With slender poles the wide capacious mouth, In heaps confus'd by their own weapons fall, And hurdles slight, they close; o'er these is spread A smoking carnage scatter'd o'er the plain. A floor of verdant turf, with all its flowers
Nor hounds alone this noxious brood destroy : Smiling delusive, and from strictest search The plunder'd warrener full many a wile Concealing the deep grave that yawns below. Devises to entrap his greedy foe,
Then boughs of trees they cut, with tempting fruit Fat with nocturnal spoils. At close of day, of various kinds surcharg'd; the downy peach, With silence drags his trail; then from the ground The clustering vine, and of bright golden rind Pares thin the close-graz'd turf, there with nice hand The fragrant orange. Soon as evening grey Covers the latent death, with curious springs Advances slow, besprinkling all around Prepar'd to fly at once, whene'er the tread With kind refreshing dews the thirsty glebe, Of man or beast unwarily shall press
The stately elephant from the close shade The yielding surface. By th’indented steel With step majestic strides, eager to taste With gripe tenacious held, the felon grins, The cooler breeze, that from the sea-beat shore And struggles, but in vain: yet ost 'tis known, Delightful breathes, or in the limpid stream When every art has fail'd, the captive fox To lave his panting sides ; joyous he scents Has shar'd the wounded joint, and with a limb The rich repast, unweeting of the death Compounded for his life. But, if perchance That lurks within. And soon he sporting breaks In the deep pitfall plung'd, there's no escape; The brittle boughs, and greedily devours But unrepriev'd he dies, and bleach'd in air, The fruit delicious. Ah! too dearly bought; The jest of clowns, his reeking carcass hangs. The price is life. For now the treacherous turf
Of these are various kinds; not even the king Trembling gives way; and the unwieldy beast, Of brutes evades this deep devouring grave: Self-sinking, drops into the dark profound. But, by the wily African betray'd,
So when dilated vapors, struggling, heave Heedless of fate, within its gaping jaws
Th’incumbent earth; if chance the cavern'd ground Expires indignant. When the orient beam Shrinking subside, and the thin surface yield, With blushes paints the dawn; and all the race Down sinks at once the ponderous dome, ingulf'd Carnivorous, with blood full gorg'd, retire With all its towers. Subtle, delusive man! Into their darksome cells, there satiate snore, How various are thy wiles! artful to kill O'er dripping offals, and the mangled limbs Thy savage foes, a dull unthinking race! of men and beasts; the painful forester
Fierce from his lair, springs forth the speckled parc Climbs the high hills, whose proud aspiring tops Thirsting for blood, and eager to destroy ; With the tall cedar crown'd, and taper fir, The huntsman flies, but to his flight alone Assail the clouds. There 'mong the craggy rocks, Confides not: at convenient distance fix'd, And thickets intricate, trembling he views A polish'd mirror stops in full career His footsteps in the sand; the dismal road The furious brute : he there his image views •
Spots against spots with rage improving glow; The royal offspring, fairest of the fair,
Lead on the splendid train. Anna, more bright
Ever triumphant! whose victorious charms, His brethren of the plains; without whose aid Without the needless aid of high descent, The hunter's arts are vain, unskill'd to wage Had aw'd mankind, and taught the world's great With the more active brules an equal war.
lords But borne by him, without the well-train'd pack, To bow and sue for grace. But who is he Man dares his foe, on wings of wind secure. Fresh as a rose-bud newly blown, and fair
Him the fierce Arab mounts, and, with his troop As opening lilies; on whom every eye Of bold compeers, ranges the deserts wild ; With joy and admiration dwells? See, see, Where, by the magnet's aid, the traveller He reins his docile barb with manly grace. Steers his untrodden course; yet oft on land Is it Adonis for the chace array'd ? Is wreck'd, in the high-rolling waves of sand Or Britain's second hope? Hail, blooming youth! Immerst and lost. While these intrepid bands, May all your virtues with your years improve, Safe in their horses' speed, outfly the storm, (prey, Till in consummate worth, you shine the pride And scouring round, make men and beasts their of these our days, and to succeeding times The grisly boar is singled from his herd,
A bright example. As his guard of mutes As large as that in Erimanthian woods,
On the great sultan wait, with eyes deject, A match for Hercules. Round him they fly And fix'd on earth, no voice, no sound is heard In circles wide; and each in passing sends Within the wide serail, but all is hushid, His feather'd death into his brawny sides. And awful silence reigns; thus stand the pack But perilous th' attempt. For if the steed Mute and unmov'd, and cowering low to earth, Haply too near approach; or the loose earth While pass the glittering court, and royal pair : His footing fail, the watchful angry beast So disciplin'd those hounds, and so reserv'd, Th' advantage spies; and at one sidelong glance Whose honor 'tis to glad the hearts of kings. Rips up his groin. Wounded, he rears aloft, But soon the winding horn, and huntsman's voice, And, plunging, from his back the rider hurls Let loose the general chorus ; far around Precipitant; then bleeding spurns the ground, Joy spreads its wings, and the gay morning smiles And drags his reeking entrails o'er the plain. Unharbor'd now the royal stag forsakes Meanwhile the surly monster trots along, His wonted lair; he shakes his dappled sides, But with unequal speed; for still they wound, And losses high his beamy head; the copse Swift-wheeling in the spacious ring. A wood Beneath his antlers bends. What doubling shifts Of darts upon his back he bears; adown He tries ! not more the wily hare ; in these His tortur'd sides, the crimson torrents roll Would still persist, did not the full-mouth'd pack From many a gaping font. And now at last With dreadful concert thunder in his rear. Staggering he falls, in blood and foam expires. The woods reply, the hunter's cheering shouts
But whither roves my devious Muse, intent Float through the glades, and the wide forest rings
The morning Sun, that gilds with trembling rays And pleasure in excess, sparkling exult
Thyself! when all the pangs that grind thy soul,
See the swift courser strains, bis shining hoofs For our more favor'd shades: in proud parade Securely beat the solid ground. Who now These shine magnificent, and press around The dangerous pitfall fears, with tangling heath The royal happy pair. Great in themselves, High-overgrown? or who the quivering bog They smile superior; of external show
Soft-yielding to the step? All now is plain, Regardless, while their inbred virtues give Plain as the strand sea-lav'd, that stretches far A lustre to their power, and grace their court Beneath the rocky shore. Glades crossing glades, With real splendors, far above the pomp
The forest opens to our wondering view: Of Eastern kings, in all their tinsel pride. Such was the king's command. Let tyrants fierce Like troops of Amazons, the female band
Lay waste the world ; his the more glorious part Prance round their cars, not in refulgent arms To check their pride; and when the brazen voice As those of old ; unskill'd to wield the sword, Of war is hush'd (as erst victorious Rome) Or bend the bow, these kill with surer aim. |T' employ his station'd legions in the work
Of peace; to smooth the rugged wilderness, And lifts his weary limbs with pain, that scarce
How melts my beating heart! as I behold Some prying eye surprise him; soon he rears
At his weak shifts and unavailing frauds. Their garments loosely waving in the wind, So midnight tapers waste their last remains, And all the flush of beauty in their cheeks! Shine forth awhile, and as they blaze expire. While at their sides their pensive lovers wait, From wood to wood redoubling thunders roll, Direct their dubious course ; now chill'd with fear And bellow through the vales; the moving storm Solicitious, and now with love inflam'd.
Thickens amain, and loud triumphant shouts, 0! grant, indulgent Heaven, no rising storm And horns shrill-warbling in each glade, prelude May darken with black wings this glorious scene! To his approaching fate. And now in view Should some malignant power thus damp our joys, With hobbling gait, and high, exerts amaz'd Vain were the gloomy cave, such as of old What strength is left: to the last dregs of life Betray'd to lawless love the Tyrian queen.
Reduc'd, his spirits fail, on every side For Britain's virtuous nymphs are chaste as fair, Hemm'd in, besieg'd; not the least opening left Spotless, unblam'd, with equal triumph reign To gleaming hope, th' unhappy's last reserve. In the dun gloom, as in the blaze of day.
Where shall he turn? or whither fly? Despair Now the blown stag, through woods, bogs, roads, Gives courage to the weak. Resolv'd to die, and streams
He fears no more, but rushes on his foes, Has measur'd half the forest ; but alas!
And deals his deaths around; beneath his feet
That covers well his rear, his front presents
He vents the cooling stream, and up the breeze
His nose alone above the wave draws in Chase him from thence: needless their impious deed, The vital air; all else beneath the flood The huntsman knows him by a thousand marks, Conceal'd, and lost, deceives each prying eye Black, and imbost; nor are his hounds deceiv'd; Of man or brute. In vain the crowding pack Too well distinguish these, and never leave Draw on the margin of the stream, or cut Their once devoted foe; familiar grows
The liquid wave with oary feet, that move His scent, and strong their appetite to kill. In equal time. The gliding waters leave Again he flies, and with redoubled speed
No trace behind, and his contracted pores Skims o'er the lawn; still the tenacious crew But sparingly perspire: the huntsman strains Hang on the track, aloud demand their prey, His laboring lungs, and puffs his cheeks in vain: And push him many a league. If haply then At length a bloou-hound bold, studious to kill, Too far escap'd, and the gay courtly train And exquisite of sense, winds him from far; Behind are cast, the huntsman's clanging whip Headlong he leaps into the flood, his mouth Stops full their bold career; passive they stand, Loud opening spends amain, and his wide throat Unmov'd, an humble, an obsequious crowd, Swells every note with joy; then fearless dives As if by stern Medusa gaz’d to stones.
Beneath the wave, hangs on his haunch, and wounds So at their general's voice whole armies halt Th' unhappy bruie, that flounders in the stream In full pursuit, and check their thirst of blood. Sorcly distress'd, and struggling strives to mount Soon at the king's command, like hasty streams The steepy shore. Haply once more escap'd, Damm'd up awhile, they foam, and pour along Again he stands at bay, amid the groves With fresh recruited might. The stag, who hop'd of willows, bending low their downy heads. His foes were lost, now once more hears astunn'd Outrageous transport fires the greedy pack ; The dreadful din; he shivers every limb, These swim the deep, and those crawl up with pain He starts, he bounds, each bush presents a foe. The slippery bank, while others on firm land Press'd by the fresh relay, no pause allow'd, Engage; the stag repels each bold assault, Breathless, and faint, he falters in his pace, Maintains his post, and wounds for wounds returns