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Hope gives them wings while she's spurr'd on by
The welkin rings, men, dogs, hills, rocks, and woods
In the full concert join. Now, my brave youths,
Stripp'd for the chase, give all your souls to joy!
See how their coursers, than the mountain roe
More fleet, the verdant carpet skim, thick clouds
Snorting they breathe, their shining hoofs scarce
The grass unbruis'd; with emulation fir'd
They strain to lead the field, top the barr'd gate,
O'er the deep ditch exulting bound, and brush
The thorny-twining hedge: the riders bend
O'er their arch'd necks; with steady hands, by turns
Indulge their speed, or moderate their rage.
Where are their sorrows, disappointments, wrongs,
Vexations, sickness, cares? All, all are gone,
And with the panting winds lag far behind.
Huntsman! her gait observe; if in wide rings
She wheel her mazy way, in the same round
Persisting still, she'll foil the beaten track.
But if she fly, and with the favoring wind
Urge her bold course; less intricate thy task:
Push on thy pack. Like some poor exil'd wretch,
The frighted Chase leaves her late dear abodes,
O'er plains remote she stretches far away,
Ah! never to return! For greedy Death
Hovering exults, secure to seize his
And each clean courser's speed. We scour along,
In pleasing hurry and confusion tost;
Oblivion to be wish'd. The patient pack
Hang on the scent unwearied, up they climb,
And ardent we pursue; our laboring steeds
We press, we gore; till once the summit gain'd,
Painfully panting, there we breathe awhile;
Then, like a foaming torrent, pouring down
Precipitant, we smoke along the vale.
Happy the man who with unrivall'd speed
Can pass his fellows, and with pleasure view
The struggling pack; how in the rapid course
Alternate they preside, and jostling push
To guide the dubious scent; how giddy youth
Oft babbling errs, by wiser age reprov'd;
How, niggard of his strength, the wise old hound
Hangs in the rear, till some important point
Rouse all his diligence, or till the chase
Sinking he finds: then to the head he springs
With thirst of glory fir'd, and wins the prize.
Huntsman, take heed; they stop in full career.
Yon crowding flocks, that at a distance gaze,
Have haply foil'd the turf. See! that old hound,
How busily he works, but dares not trust
His doubtful sense; draw yet a wider ring.
Hark! now again the chorus fills. As bells
Sallied awhile, at once their peal renew,
And high in air the tuneful thunder rolls.
Hark! from yon covert, where those towering oaks See, how they toss, with animated rage
Above the humble copse aspiring rise,
What glorious triumphs burst in every gale
Upon our ravish'd ears! The hunters shout,
The clanging horns swell their sweet-winding notes,
The pack wide opening load the trembling air
With various melody; from tree to tree
The propagated cry redoubling bounds,
And winged zephyrs waft the floating joy
Through all the regions near: afflictive birch
No more the school-boy dreads; his prison broke,
Scampering he flies, nor heeds his master's call;
The weary traveller forgets his road,
And climbs th' adjacent hill; the plowman leaves
Th' unfinish'd furrow; nor his bleating flocks
Are now the shepherd's joy! men, boys, and girls
Desert th' unpeopled village; and wild crowds
Spread o'er the plain, by the sweet frenzy seiz'd.
Look, how she pants! and o'er yon opening glade
Slips glancing by! while, at the further end,
The puzzling pack unravel wile by wile,
Maze within maze. The covert's utmost bound
Slily she skirts; behind them cautious creeps;
And in that very track, so lately stain'd
By all the steaming crowd, seems to pursue
The foe she flies. Let cavillers deny
That brutes have reason; sure 'tis something more,
"Tis Heaven directs, and stratagems inspires
Beyond the short extent of human thought.
But hold-I see her from the covert break;
Sad on yon little eminence she sits;
Intent she listens with one ear erect,
Pondering, and doubtful what new course to take,
And how t' escape the fierce blood-thirsty crew,
That still urge on, and still in volleys loud
Insult her woes, and mock her sore distress.
As now in louder peals the loaded winds
Bring on the gathering storm, her fears prevail,
And o'er the plain, and o'er the mountain's ridge,
Away she flies; nor ships with wind and tide,
And all their canvas wings, scud half so fast.
Once more, ye jovial train, your courage try,
Recovering all they lost!-That eager haste
Some doubling wile foreshows.-Ah! yet once more
They're check'd,-hold back with speed-on either
They flourish round-ev'n yet persist-"Tis right,
Away they spring; the rustling stubbles bend
Beneath the driving storm. Now the poor Chase
Begins to flag, to her last shifts reduc'd.
From brake to brake she flies, and visits all
Her well-known haunts, where once she rang'd
With love and plenty blest. See! there she goes,
She reels along, and by her gait betrays
Her inward weakness. See, how black she looks!
The sweat, that clogs th' obstructed pores, scarce
A languid scent. And now in open view
See, see, she flies! each eager hound exerts
His utmost speed, and stretches every nerve.
How quick she turns! their gaping jaws eludes,
And yet a moment lives; till, round inclos'd
By all the greedy pack, with infant screams
She yields her breath, and there reluctant dies.
So when the furious Bacchanals assail'd
Threïcian Orpheus, poor ill-fated bard!
Loud was the cry; hills, woods, and Hebrus' banks,
Return'd their clamorous rage; distress'd he flies,
Shifting from place to place, but flies in vain;
For eager they pursue, till panting, faint,
By noisy multitudes o'erpower'd, he sinks
To the relentless crowd a bleeding prey.
The huntsman now, a deep incision made,
Shakes out with hands impure, and dashes down
Her reeking entrails and yet quivering heart.
These claim the pack, the bloody perquisite
For all their toils. Stretch'd on the ground she lies
A mangled corse; in her dim glaring eyes
Cold Death exults, and stiffens every limb.
Aw'd by the threatening whip, the furious hounds
Around her bay; or at their master's foot,
Each happy favorite courts his kind applause.
With humble adulation cowering low.
All now is joy. With cheeks full-blown they wind
Her solemn dirge, while the loud-opening pack
The concert swell, and hills and dales return
The sadly-pleasing sounds. Thus the poor hare,
A puny, dastard animal, but vers'd
In subtle wiles, diverts the youthful train.
But if thy proud, aspiring soul disdains
So mean a prey, delighted with the pomp,
Magnificence, and grandeur of the chase;
Hear what the Muse from faithful records sings.
Why on the banks of Gemna, Indian stream,
Line within line, rise the pavilions proud,
Their silken streamers waving in the wind?
Why neighs the warrior horse? From tent to tent,
Why press in crowds the buzzing multitude?
Why shines the polish'd helm, and pointed lance,
This way and that far-beaming o'er the plain?
Nor Visapour nor Golconda rebel;
Nor the great Sophy, with his numerous host,
Lays waste the provinces; nor glory fires
To rob and to destroy, beneath the name
And specious guise of war. A nobler cause
Calls Aurengzebe to arms. No cities sack'd,
No mother's tears, no helpless orphan's cries,
No violated leagues, with sharp remorse
Shall sting the conscious victor: but mankind
Shall hail him good and just. For 'tis on beasts
He draws his vengeful sword! on beasts of prey
Full-fed with human gore. See, see, he comes!
Imperial Delhi, opening wide her gates,
Pours out her thronging legions, bright in arms,
And all the pomp of war. Before them sound
Clarions and trumpets, breathing martial airs,
And bold defiance. High upon his throne,
Borne on the back of his proud elephant,
Sits the great chief of Tamur's glorious race:
Sublime he sits, amid the radiant blaze
Of gems and gold. Omrahs about him crowd,
And rein th' Arabian steed, and watch his nod:
And potent rajahs, who themselves preside
O'er realms of wide extent; but here submiss
Their homage pay, alternate kings and slaves.
Next these, with prying eunuchs girt around,
The fair sultanas of his court: a troop
Of chosen beauties, but with care conceal'd
From each intrusive eye; one look is death.
Ah, cruel eastern law! (had kings a power
But equal to their wild tyrannic will)
To rob us of the Sun's all-cheering ray,
Were less severe. The vulgar close the march,
Slaves and artificers; and Delhi mourns
Her empty and depopulated streets.
Now at the camp arriv'd, with stern review,
Through groves of spears, from file to file he darts
His sharp experienc'd eye; their order marks,
Each in his station rang'd, exact and firm,
Till in the boundless line his sight is lost.
Not greater multitudes in arms appear'd
On these extended plains, when Ammon's son
With mighty Porus in dread battle join'd,
The vassal world the prize. Nor was that host
More numerous of old, which the great king*
Pour'd out on Greece from all th' unpeopled East,
That bridg'd the Hellespont from shore to shore,
And drank the rivers dry. Meanwhile in troops
The busy hunter-train mark out the ground,
A wide circumference, full many a league
In compass round; woods, rivers, hills, and plains,
Large provinces; enough to gratify
Ambition's highest aim, could reason bound
Man's erring will. Now sit in close divan
The mighty chiefs of this prodigious host.
He from the throne high-eminent presides,
Gives out his mandates proud, laws of the chase,
From ancient records drawn. With reverence low,
And prostrate at his feet, the chiefs receive
His irreversible decrees, from which
To vary is to die. Then his brave bands
Each to his station leads; encamping round,
Till the wide circle is completely form'd
Where decent order reigns, what these command,
Those execute with speed, and punctual care,
In all the strictest discipline of war:
As if some watchful foe, with bold insult,
Hung lowering o'er their camp. The high resolve,
That flies on wings through all th' encircling line,
Each motion steers, and animates the whole.
So by the Sun's attractive power controll'd,
The planets in their spheres roll round his orb:
On all he shines, and rules the great machine.
Ere yet the morn dispels the fleeting mists,
The signal given by the loud trumpet's voice,
Now high in air th' imperial standard waves,
Emblazon'd rich with gold, and glittering gems,
And like a sheet of fire, through the dun gloom
Streaming meteorous. The soldiers' shouts,
And all the brazen instruments of war,
With mutual clamor, and united din,
Fill the large concave. While from camp to camp
They catch the varied sounds, floating in air,
Round all the wide circumference, tigers fell
Shrink at the noise, deep in his gloomy den
The lion starts, and morsels yet unchew'd
Drop from his trembling jaws. Now all at once
Onward they march embattled, to the sound
Of martial harmony; fifes, cornets, drums,
That rouse the sleepy soul to arms, and bold
Heroic deeds. In parties here and there
Detach'd o'er hill and dale, the hunters range
Inquisitive; strong dogs, that match in fight
The boldest brute, around their masters wait,
A faithful guard. No haunt unsearch'd, they drive
From every covert, and from every den,
The lurking savages. Incessant shouts
Re-echo through the woods, and kindling fires
Gleam from the mountain tops; the forest seems
One mingling blaze: like flocks of sheep they fly
Before the flaming brand: fierce lions, pards,
Boars, tigers, bears and wolves; a dreadful crew
|Of grim blood-thirsty foes; growling along,
They stalk indignant; but fierce vengeance still
Hangs pealing on their rear, and pointed spears
Present immediate death. Soon as the Night
Wrapt in her sable veil forbids the chase,
They pitch their tents, in even ranks, around
The circling camp. The guards are plac'd, and fires
At proper distances ascending rise,
And paint th' horizon with their ruddy light.
So round some island's shore of large extent,
Amid the gloomy horrors of the night,
The billows breaking on the pointed rocks,
Seem all one flame, and the bright circuit wide
Appears a bulwark of surrounding fire.
What dreadful howlings, and what hideous roar.
Disturb those peaceful shades! where erst the bird
That glads the night had cheer'd the listening groves
With sweet complainings. Through the silent gloom
Oft they the guards assail; as oft repell'd
They fly reluctant, with hot boiling rage
Stung to the quick, and mad with wild despair.
Thus day by day they still the chase renew,
At night encamp; till now in straiter bounds
The circle lessens, and the beasts perceive
The wall that hems them in on every side.
And now their fury bursts, and knows no mean;
From man they turn, and point their ill-judg'd rage
Against their fellow-brutes. With teeth and claws
The civil war begins; grappling they tear.
Lions on tigers prey, and bears on wolves:
Horrible discord! till the crowd behind
Shouting pursue, and part the bloody fray.
At once their wrath subsides; tame as the lamb
The lion hangs his head, the furious pard,
Cow'd and subdu'd, flies from the face of man,
Nor bears one glance of his commanding eye.
So abject is a tyrant in distress!
At last, within the narrow plain confin'd,
A listed field, mark'd out for bloody deeds,
An amphitheatre more glorious far
Than ancient Rome could boast, they crowd in heaps, Dismay'd, and quite appall'd. In meet array, Sheath'd in refulgent arms, a noble band Advance; great lords of high imperial blood, Early resolv'd t' assert their royal race, And prove by glorious deeds their valor's growth Mature, ere yet the callow down has spread Its curling shade. On bold Arabian steeds With decent pride they sit, that fearless hear The lion's dreadful roar; and down the rock Swift shooting plunge, or o'er the mountain's ridge Stretching along, the greedy tiger leave Panting behind. On foot their faithful slaves With javelins arm'd attend; each watchful eye Fix'd on his youthful care, for him alone He fears, and, to redeem his life, unmov'd Would lose his own. The mighty Aurengzebe, From his high-elevated throne, beholds His blooming race; revolving in his mind What once he was, in his gay spring of life, When vigor strung his nerves. Parental joy Melts in his eye, and flushes in his cheek. Now the loud trumpet sounds a charge. The shouts Of eager hosts, through all the circling line, And the wild howlings of the beasts within, Rend wide the welkin; flights of arrows, wing'd With death, and javelins lanch'd from every arm, Gall sore the brutal band, with many a wound Gor'd through and through. Despair at last prevails, When fainting Nature shrinks, and rouses all Their drooping courage. Swell'd with furious rage, Their eyes dart fire; and on the youthful band They rush implacable. They their broad shields Quick interpose; on each devoted head Their flaming falchions, as the bolts of Jove, Descend unerring. Prostrate on the ground The grinning monsters lie, and their foul gore Defiles the verdant plain. Nor idle stand The trusty slaves; with pointed spears they pierce Through their tough hides; or at their gaping mouths An easier passage find. The king of brutes In broken roarings breathes his last; the bear Grumbles in death; nor can his spotted skin, Though sleek it shine, with varied beauties gay, Save the proud pard from unrelenting fate. The battle bleeds, grim Slaughter strides along, Glutting her greedy jaws, grins o'er her prey: Men, horses, dogs, fierce beasts of every kind,
A strange promiscuous carnage, drench'd in blood,
And heaps on heaps amass'd. What yet remain
Alive, with vain assault contend to break
Th' impenetrable line. Others, whom fear
Inspires with self-preserving wiles, beneath
The bodies of the slain for shelter creep.
Aghast they fly, or hide their heads dispers'd.
And now perchance (had Heaven but pleas'd) the
Of death had been complete; and Aurengzebe
By one dread frown extinguish'd half their race.
When lo! the bright sultanas of his court
Appear, and to his ravish'd eyes display
Those charms but rarely to the day reveal'd.
Lowly they bend, and humbly sue, to save
The vanquish'd host. What mortal can deny,
When suppliant Beauty begs? At his command,
Opening to right and left, the well-train'd troops
Leave a large void for their retreating foes.
Away they fly, on wings of fear upborne,
To seek on distant hills their late abodes.
Ye proud oppressors, whose vain hearts exult In wantonness of power 'gainst the brute race, Fierce robbers like yourselves, a guiltless war Wage uncontroll'd: here quench your thirst of blood:
But learn from Aurengzebe to spare mankind.
Of king Edgar, and his imposing a tribute of wolves' heads upon the kings of Wales: from hence a transition to fox-hunting, which is described in all its parts. Censure of an over-numerous pack. Of the several engines to destroy foxes, and other wild beasts. The steel-trap described, and the manner of using it. Description of the pitfall for the lion; and another for the elephant. The ancient way of hunting the tiger with a mirror. The Arabian manner of hunting the wild boar. Description of the royal stag-chase at Windsor Forest. Concludes with an address to his Majesty, and an eulogy upon mercy.
IN Albion's isle, when glorious Edgar reign'd,
He, wisely provident, from her white cliffs
Launch'd half her forests, and with numerous fleets
Cover'd his wide domain: there proudly rode
Lord of the deep, the great prerogative
Of British monarchs. Each invader bold,
Dane and Norwegian, at a distance gaz'd,
And, disappointed, gnash'd his teeth in vain.
He scour'd the seas, and to remotest shores
With swelling sails the trembling corsair fled.
Rich commerce flourish'd; and with busy oars
Dash'd the resounding surge. Nor less at land
His royal cares; wise, potent, gracious prince!
His subjects from their cruel foes he sav'd,
And from rapacious savages their flocks:
Cambria's proud kings (though with reluctance) paid
Their tributary wolves; head after head,
In full account, till the woods yield no more,
And all the ravenous race extinct is lost.
In fertile pastures, more securely graz'd
The social troops; and soon their large increase
With curling fleeces whiten'd all the plains.
But yet, alas! the wily fox remain'd,
A subtle, pilfering foe, prowling around
In midnight shades, and wakeful to destroy.
In the full fold, the poor defenceless lamb,
Seiz'd by his guileful arts, with sweet warm blood
Supplies a rich repast. The mournful ewe,
Her dearest treasure lost, through the dun night
Wanders perplex'd, and darkling bleats in vain:
While in th' adjacent bush, poor Philomel
(Herself a parent once, till wanton churls
Despoil'd her nest) joins in her loud laments,
With sweeter notes, and more melodious woe.
For these nocturnal thieves, huntsman, prepare
Thy sharpest vengeance. Oh! how glorious 'tis
To right th' oppress'd, and bring the felon vile
To just disgrace! Ere yet the morning peep,
Or stars retire from the first blush of day,
With thy far-echoing voice alarm thy pack,
And rouse thy bold compeers. Then to the copse,
Thick with entangling grass, or prickly furze,
With silence lead thy many-color'd hounds,
In all their beauty's pride. See! how they range
Dispers'd, how busily this way, and that,
They cross, examining with curious nose
Each likely haunt. Hark! on the drag I hear
Their doubtful notes, preluding to a cry
More nobly full, and swell'd with every mouth.
As straggling armies, at the trumpet's voice,
Press to their standard; hither all repair,
And hurry through the woods; with hasty step
Rustling, and full of hope; now driven on heaps
They push, they strive; while from his kennel
The conscious villain. See! he skulks along,
Sleek at the shepherd's cost, and plump with meals
Purloin'd. So thrive the wicked here below.
Though high his brush he bear, though tipt with
It gaily shine; yet ere the Sun declin'd
Recall the shades of night, the pamper'd rogue
Shall rue his fate revers'd, and at his heels
Behold the just avenger, swift to seize
His forfeit head, and thirsting for his blood. [hearts
Heavens! what melodious strains! how beat our
Big with tumultuous joy! the loaded gales
Breathe harmony; and as the tempest drives
From wood to wood, through every dark recess
The forest thunders, and the mountains shake.
The chorus swells; less various, and less sweet,
The trilling notes, when in those very groves,
The feather'd choristers salute the Spring,
And every bush in concert join; or when
The master's hand in modulated air,
Bids the loud organ breathe, and all the powers
Of music in one instrument combine,
An universal minstrelsy. And now
In vain each earth he tries, the doors are barr'd
Impregnable, nor is the covert safe;
He pants for purer air. Hark! what loud shouts
Re-echo through the groves! he breaks away.
Shrill horns proclaim his flight. Each straggling
Strains o'er the lawn to reach the distant pack.
'Tis triumph all and joy. Now, my brave youths,
Now give a loose to the clean generous steed;
Flourish the whip, nor spare the galling spur;
But, in the madness of delight, forget
Your fears. Far o'er the rocky hills we range,
And dangerous our course; but in the brave
True courage never fails. In vain the stream
In foaming eddies whirls; in vain the ditch
Wide-gaping threatens death. The craggy steep,
Where the poor dizzy shepherd crawls with care,
And clings to every twig, gives us no pain;
But down we sweep, as stoops the falcon bold
To pounce his prey. Then up th' opponent hill,
By the swift motion slung, we mount aloft:
So ships in winter-seas now sliding sink
Adown the steepy wave, then toss'd on high
Ride on the billows, and defy the storm.
What lengths we pass! where will the wandering
Lead us bewilder'd! smooth as swallows skim
The new-shorn mead, and far more swift, we fly.
See my brave pack; how to the head they press,
Jostling in close array then more diffuse
Obliquely wheel, while from their opening mouths
The vollied thunder breaks. So when the cranes
Their annual voyage steer, with wanton wing
Their figure oft they change, and their loud clang
From cloud to cloud rebounds. How far behind
The hunter-crew, wide-straggling o'er the plain!
The panting courser now with trembling nerves
Begins to reel; urg'd by the goring spur,
Makes many a faint effort: he snorts, he foams,
The big round drops run trickling down his sides,
With sweat and blood distain'd. Look back and view
The strange confusion of the vale below,
Where sour vexation reigns; see yon poor jade!
In vain th' impatient rider frets and swears;
With galling spurs harrows his mangled sides:
He can no more: his stiff unpliant limbs
Rooted in earth, unmov'd and fix'd he stands,
For every cruel curse returns a groan,
And sobs, and faints, and dies. Who without grief
Can view that pamper'd steed, his master's joy,
His minion, and his daily care, well cloth'd,
Well fed with every nicer cate; no cost,
No labor spar'd; who, when the flying Chase
Broke from the copse, without a rival led
The numerous train: now a sad spectacle
Of pride brought low, and humbled insolence,
Drove like a pannier'd ass, and scourg'd along.
While these, with loosen'd reins and dangling heels,
Hang on their reeling palfreys, that scarce bear
Their weights: another in the treacherous bog
Lies floundering, half ingulf'd. What biting thoughts
Torment th' abandon'd crew! Old age laments
His vigor spent: the tall, plump, brawny youth
Curses his cumbrous bulk; and envies now
The short pygmean race he whilom kenn'd
With proud insulting leer. A chosen few
Alone the sport enjoy, nor droop beneath
Their pleasing toils. Here, huntsman, from this
Observe yon birds of prey; if I can judge,
'Tis there the villain lurks: they hover round,
And claim him as their own. Was I not right?
See! there he creeps along; his brush he drags,
And sweeps the mire impure; from his wide jaws
His tongue unmoisten'd hangs; symptoms too sure
Of sudden death. Ha! yet he flies, nor yields
To black despair. But one loose more, and all
His wiles are vain. Hark! through yon village now
The rattling clamor rings. The barns, the cots,
And leafless elms, return the joyous sounds.
Through every homestall, and through every yard.
His midnight walks, panting, forlorn, he flies;
Through every hole he sneaks, through every jakes
Plunging he wades besmear'd, and fondly hopes
In a superior stench to lose his own.
But, faithful to the track, th' unerring hounds
With peals of echoing vengeance close pursue.
And now distress'd, no sheltering covert near,
Into the hen-roost creeps, whose walls with gore
Distain'd attest his guilt. There, villain, there
Expect thy fate deserv'd. And soon from thence
The pack inquisitive, with clamor loud,
Drag out their trembling prize; and on his blood
With greedy transport feast. In bolder notes
Each sounding horn proclaims the felon dead:
And all th' assembled village shouts for joy.
The farmer, who beholds his mortal foe
Stretch'd at his feet, applauds the glorious deed,
And grateful calls us to a short repast:
In the full glass the liquid amber smiles,
Our native product; and his good old mate
With choicest viands heaps the liberal board,
To crown our triumphs, and reward our toils.
Here must th' instructive Muse (but with respect)
Censure that numerous pack, that crowd of state,
With which the vain profusion of the great
Covers the lawn, and shakes the trembling copse.
Pompous encumbrance! A magnificence
Useless, vexatious! For the wily fox,
Safe in th' increasing number of his foes,
Kens well the great advantage; slinks behind,
And slily creeps through the same beaten track,
And hunts them step by step: then views, escap'd,
With inward ecstacy, the panting throng
In their own footsteps puzzled, foil'd, and lost.
So when proud eastern kings summon to arms
Their gaudy legions, from far distant climes
They flock in crowds, unpeopling half a world :
But when the day of battle calls them forth
To charge the well-train'd foe, a band compact
Of chosen veterans; they press blindly on,
In heaps confus'd by their own weapons fall,
A smoking carnage scatter'd o'er the plain.
Nor hounds alone this noxious brood destroy:
The plunder'd warrener full many a wile
Devises to entrap his greedy foe,
Fat with nocturnal spoils. At close of day,
With silence drags his trail; then from the ground
Pares thin the close-graz'd turf, there with nice hand
Covers the latent death, with curious springs
Prepar'd to fly at once, whene'er the tread
Of man or beast unwarily shall press
The yielding surface. By th' indented steel
With gripe tenacious held, the felon grins,
And struggles, but in vain: yet oft 'tis known,
When every art has fail'd, the captive fox
Has shar'd the wounded joint, and with a limb
Compounded for his life. But, if perchance
In the deep pitfall plung'd, there's no escape;
But unrepriev'd he dies, and bleach'd in air,
The jest of clowns, his reeking carcass hangs.
Of these are various kinds; not even the king
Of brutes evades this deep devouring grave:
But, by the wily African betray'd,
Heedless of fate, within its gaping jaws
Expires indignant. When the orient beam
With blushes paints the dawn; and all the race
Carnivorous, with blood full gorg'd, retire
Into their darksome cells, there satiate snore,
O'er dripping offals, and the mangled limbs
Of men and beasts; the painful forester
Climbs the high hills, whose proud aspiring tops
With the tall cedar crown'd, and taper fir,
Assail the clouds. There 'mong the craggy rocks,
And thickets intricate, trembling he views
His footsteps in the sand; the dismal road
And avenue to Death. Hither he calls
His watchful bands; and low into the ground
A pit they sink, full many a fathom deep.
Then in the midst a column high is rear'd,
The but of some fair tree; upon whose top
A lamb is plac'd, just ravish'd from his dam.
And next a wall they build, with stones and earth
Encircling round, and hiding from all view
The dreadful precipice. Now when the shades
Of night hang lowering o'er the mountain's brow;
And hunger keen, and pungent thirst of blood,
Rouse up the slothful beast, he shakes his sides,
Slow-rising from his lair, and stretches wide
His ravenous paws, with recent gore distain'd.
The forests tremble, as he roars aloud,
Impatient to destroy. O'erjoyed he hears
The bleating innocent, that claims in vain
The shepherd's care, and seeks with piteous moan
The foodful teat; himself, alas! design'd
Another's meal. For now the greedy brute
Winds him from far; and leaping o'er the mound
To seize his trembling prey, headlong is plung'd
Into the deep abyss. Prostrate he lies
Astunn'd and impotent. Ah! what avail
Thine eyeballs flashing fire, thy length of tail,
That lashes thy broad sides, thy jaws besmear'd
With blood and offals crude, thy shaggy mane
The terror of the woods, thy stately port,
And bulk enormous, since by stratagem
Thy strength is foil'd? Unequal is the strife,
When sovereign reason combats brutal rage.
On distant Ethiopia's sun-burnt coasts,
The black inhabitants a pitfall frame,
But of a different kind, and different use.
With slender poles the wide capacious mouth,
And hurdles slight, they close; o'er these is spread
A floor of verdant turf, with all its flowers
Smiling delusive, and from strictest search
Concealing the deep grave that yawns below.
Then boughs of trees they cut, with tempting fruit
Of various kinds surcharg'd; the downy peach,
The clustering vine, and of bright golden rind
The fragrant orange. Soon as evening grey
Advances slow, besprinkling all around
With kind refreshing dews the thirsty glebe,
The stately elephant from the close shade
With step majestic strides, eager to taste
The cooler breeze, that from the sea-beat shore
Delightful breathes, or in the limpid stream
To lave his panting sides; joyous he scents
The rich repast, unweeting of the death
That lurks within.
And soon he sporting breaks
The brittle boughs, and greedily devours
The fruit delicious. Ah! too dearly bought;
The price is life. For now the treacherous turf
Trembling gives way; and the unwieldy beast,
Self-sinking, drops into the dark profound.
So when dilated vapors, struggling, heave
Th' incumbent earth; if chance the cavern'd ground
Shrinking subside, and the thin surface yield,
Down sinks at once the ponderous dome, ingulf'd
With all its towers. Subtle, delusive man!
How various are thy wiles! artful to kill
Thy savage foes, a dull unthinking race!
Fierce from his lair, springs forth the speckled pard
Thirsting for blood, and eager to destroy;
The huntsman flies, but to his flight alone
Confides not: at convenient distance fix'd,
A polish'd mirror stops in full career
The furious brute: he there his image views;