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Not yet the hawthorn bore her berries red, With which the fieldfare, wintry guest, is fed ; . Nor autumn yet had brush'd from ev'ry spray, With her chill hand, the mellow leaves away; 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 fillid of heavenly notes, For which, alas! my destiny severe, Tho' ears she gave me two, gave me no ear.
The Sun accomplishing his early march, His lamp now planted on heaven's topmast 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 Dingle-derry* 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 seem'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 instrument of music speak, * Two woods belonging to John' Throckmorton, Esq. near Weston
And from within the wood that crash was heard,
The man to solitude accustom'd long, Perceives in ev'ry 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 flowers 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 every loco-motive 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 every face, Thou had'st suppos’d them of superior race;
Their periwigs of wool, and fears combin’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
rollid • 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 wandering wide, • Might be suppos'd to clamour for a guide. • But, ah! those dreadful yells what soul can hear, • That owns a carcase, and not quake for fear?'; * Dæmons produce them doubtless, brazen-c!awid * 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 ? • Nor 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 • Qf peace or ease to creatures clad as we. • Mean time, 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 dæmons 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, Thro' 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 wonder'd that the silly Sheep had found ) Such cause of terror in an empty sound So sweet to huntsman, gentleman, and hound.
Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day, Live till to-morrow, will have pass'd away.
OR, THE FAITHFUL FRIEND.
Enjoy'd the open air ;
Liv'd happy prisoners there.
They sang, as blithe as Finches sing,
And frolic where they list ;
And, therefore, never miss'd.
But nature works in every breast;