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Of peace; to smooth the rugged wilderness,
To drain the stagnate fen, to raise the slope
Depending road, and to make gay the face
Of Nature, with th' embellishments of Art.
Has measur'd half the forest; but alas!
He flies in vain, he flies not from his fears.
Though far he cast the lingering pack behind,
His haggard fancy still with horror views
The fell destroyer; still the fatal cry
Insults his ears, and wounds his trembling heart.
So the poor fury-haunted wretch (his hands
In guiltless blood distain'd) still seems to hear
The dying shrieks; and the pale threatening ghost
Moves as he moves, and as he flies, pursues.
See here his slot; up yon green hill he climbs,
Pants on its brow awhile, sadly looks back
On his pursuers, covering all the plain;
How melts my beating heart! as I behold
Each lovely nymph, our island's boast and pride,
Push on the generous steed, that strokes along
O'er rough, o'er smooth, nor heeds the steepy hill,
Nor falters in th' extended vale below:
Their garments loosely waving in the wind,
And all the flush of beauty in their cheeks!
While at their sides their pensive lovers wait,
Direct their dubious course; now chill'd with fear
Solicitious, and now with love inflam'd.
O grant, indulgent Heaven, no rising storm
May darken with black wings this glorious scene!
Should some malignant power thus damp our joys,
Vain were the gloomy cave, such as of old
Betray'd to lawless love the Tyrian queen.
For Britain's virtuous nymphs are chaste as fair,
Spotless, unblam'd, with equal triumph reign
In the dun gloom, as in the blaze of day.
Now the blown stag, through woods, bogs, roads, Gives courage to the weak. Resolv'd to die,
He fears no more, but rushes on his foes,
And deals his deaths around; beneath his feet
These grovelling lie, those by his antlers gor'd
Defile th' ensanguin'd plain. Ah! see distress'd
He stands at bay against yon knotty trunk,
That covers well his rear, his front presents
An host of foes. O! shun, ye noble train,
The rude encounter, and believe your lives
Your country's due alone. As now aloof
They wing around, he finds his soul uprais'd,
To dare some great exploit; he charges home
Upon the broken pack, that on each side
Fly diverse; then as o'er the turf he strains,
He vents the cooling stream, and up the breeze
Urges his course with equal violence:
Then takes the soil, and plunges in the flood
Precipitant; down the mid-stream he wafts
Along, till (like a ship distress'd, that runs
Into some winding creek) close to the verge
Of a small island, for his weary feet
Sure anchorage he finds, there skulks immers'd.
His nose alone above the wave draws in
The vital air; all else beneath the flood
Conceal'd, and lost, deceives each prying eye
Of man or brute. In vain the crowding pack
Draw on the margin of the stream, or cut
The liquid wave with oary feet, that move
In equal time. The gliding waters leave
No trace behind, and his contracted pores
But sparingly perspire: the huntsman strains
His laboring lungs, and puffs his cheeks in vain:
At length a blood-hound bold, studious to kill,
And exquisite of sense, winds him from far;
Headlong he leaps into the flood, his mouth
Loud opening spends amain, and his wide throat
Swells every note with joy; then fearless dives
Beneath the wave, hangs on his haunch, and wounds
Th' unhappy brute, that flounders in the stream
Sorely distress'd, and struggling strives to mount
The steepy shore. Haply once more escap'd,
Again he stands at bay, amid the groves
Of willows, bending low their downy heads.
Outrageous transport fires the greedy pack;
These swim the deep, and those crawl up with pain
The slippery bank, while others on firm land
Engage; the stag repels each bold assault,
Maintains his post, and wounds for wounds returns
But wrung with anguish, bears not long the sight,
Shoots down the steep, and sweats along the vale.
There mingles with the herd, where once he reign'd
Proud monarch of the groves, whose clashing beam
His rivals aw'd, and whose exalted power
Was still rewarded with successful love.
But the base herd have learn'd the ways of men,
Averse they fly, or with rebellious aim
Chase him from thence: needless their impious deed,
The huntsman knows him by a thousand marks,
Black, and imbost; nor are his hounds deceiv'd;
Too well distinguish these, and never leave
Their once devoted foe; familiar grows
His scent, and strong their appetite to kill.
Again he flies, and with redoubled speed
Skims o'er the lawn; still the tenacious crew
Hang on the track, aloud demand their prey,
And push him many a league. If haply then
Too far escap'd, and the gay courtly train
Behind are cast, the huntsman's clanging whip
Stops full their bold career; passive they stand,
Unmov'd, an humble, an obsequious crowd,
As if by stern Medusa gaz'd to stones.
So at their general's voice whole armies halt
In full pursuit, and check their thirst of blood.
Soon at the king's command, like hasty streams
Damm'd up awhile, they foam, and pour along
With fresh recruited might. The stag, who hop'd
His foes were lost, now once more hears astunn'd
The dreadful din; he shivers every limb,
He starts, he bounds, each bush presents a foe.
Press'd by the fresh relay, no pause allow'd,
Breathless, and faint, he falters in his pace,
And lifts his weary limbs with pain, that scarce
Sustain their load: he pants, he sobs appall'd!
Drops down his heavy head to earth, beneath
His cumbrous beams oppress'd. But if perchance
Some prying eye surprise him; soon he rears
Erect his towering front, bounds o'er the lawn
With ill-dissembled vigor, to amuse
The knowing forester; who inly smiles
At his weak shifts and unavailing frauds.
So midnight tapers waste their last remains,
Shine forth awhile, and as they blaze expire.
From wood to wood redoubling thunders roll,
And bellow through the vales; the moving storm
Thickens amain, and loud triumphant shouts,
And horns shrill-warbling in each glade, prelude
To his approaching fate. And now in view
With hobbling gait, and high, exerts amaz'd
What strength is left: to the last dregs of life
Reduc'd, his spirits fail, on every side
Hemm'd in, besieg'd; not the least opening left
To gleaming hope, th' unhappy's last reserve.
Where shall he turn? or whither fly? Despair
As when some wily corsair boards a ship
Full-freighted, or from Afric's golden coasts,
Or India's wealthy strand, his bloody crew
Upon her deck he slings; these in the deep
Drop short, and swim to reach her steepy sides,
And clinging climb aloft; while those on board
Urge on the work of Fate; the master bold,
Press'd to his last retreat, bravely resolves
To sink his wealth beneath the whelming wave,
His wealth, his foes, nor unreveng'd to die.
So fares it with the stag: so he resolves
To plunge at once into the flood below,
Himself, his foes, in one deep gulf immers'd.
Ere yet he executes this dire intent,
In wild disorder once more views the light;
Beneath a weight of woe he groans distress'd,
The tears run trickling down his hairy cheeks;
He weeps, nor weeps in vain. The king beholds
His wretched plight, and tenderness innate
Moves his great soul. Soon at his high command
Rebuk'd, the disappointed, hungry pack
Retire submiss, and grumbling quit their prey.
Great Prince! from thee what may thy subjects
So kind, and so beneficent to brutes!
O Mercy, heavenly born! sweet attribute!
Thou great, thou best prerogative of power!
Justice may guard the throne, but, join'd with thee,
On rocks of adamant it stands secure,
And braves the storm beneath: soon as thy smiles
Gild the rough deep, the foaming waves subside,
And all the noisy tumult sinks in peace.
Should he not kill, as erst the Samian sage
Taught unadvis'd, and Indian brachmans now
As vainly preach; the teeming ravenous brutes
Might fill the scanty space of this terrene,
Encumbering all the globe: should not his care
Improve his growing stock, their kinds might fail;
Man might once more on roots and acorns feed,
And through the deserts range, shivering, forlorn,
Quite destitute of every solace dear,
And every smiling gaiety of life.
The prudent huntsman therefore will supply
With annual large recruits his broken pack,
And propagate their kind; as from the root
Fresh scions still spring forth and daily yield
New blooming honors to the parent-tree.
Far shall his pack be fam'd, far sought his breed,
And princes at their tables feast those hounds
His hand presents, an acceptable boon.
Ere yet the Sun through the bright Ram has urg'd
His steepy course, or mother Earth unbound
Her frozen bosom to the Western gale;
When feather'd troops, their social leagues dissolv'd,
Select their mates, and on the leafless elm
The noisy rook builds high her wicker nest,
Mark well the wanton females of thy pack,
That curl their taper tales, and frisking court
Their piebald mates enamour'd; their red eyes
Flash fires impure; nor rest nor food they take,
Goaded by furious love. In separate cells
Confine them now, lest bloody civil wars
Annoy thy peaceful state. If left at large,
The growling rivals in dread battle join,
And rude encounter; on Scamander's streams
Heroes of old with far less fury fought
For the bright Spartan dame, their valor's prize.
Mangled and torn thy favorite hounds shall lie,
Stretch'd on the ground; thy kennel shall appear
A field of blood: like some unhappy town
In civil broils confus'd, while Discord shakes
Her bloody scourge aloft, fierce parties rage,
Staining their impious hands in mutual death;
And still the best belov'd, and bravest fall:
Such are the dire effects of lawless love.
Huntsman! these ills by timely prudent care
Prevent: for every longing dame select
Some happy paramour; to him alone
Of the necessity of destroying some beasts, and preserving others for the use of man. Of breeding of hounds; the season for this business. The choice of the dog, of great moment. Of the litter of whelps. Of the number to be reared. Of setting them out to their several walks. Care to be taken to prevent their hunting too soon. Of entering the whelps. Of breaking them from In leagues connubial join. Consider well running at sheep. Of the diseases of hounds. His lineage; what his fathers did of old, Of their age. Of madness; two sorts of it de- Chiefs of the pack, and first to climb the rock, scribed, the dumb and outrageous madness: its Or plunge into the deep, or thread the brake dreadful effects. Burning of the wound recom- With thorn sharp-pointed, plash'd, and briers inmended as preventing all ill consequences. The infectious hounds to be separated, and fed apart. Observe with care his shape, sort, color, size. The vanity of trusting to the many infallible Nor will sagacious huntsmen less regard cures for this malady. The dismal effects of the His inward habits: the vain babbler shun, biting of a mad dog, upon man, described. De- Ever loquacious, ever in the wrong. scription of the otter hunting. The conclusion. His foolish offspring shall offend thy ears With false alarms, and loud impertinence. Nor less the shifting cur avoid, that breaks Illusive from the pack; to the next hedge Devious he strays, there every muse he tries: If haply then he cross the steaming scent, Away he flies vain-glorious; and exults As of the pack supreme, and in his speed And strength unrivall'd. Lo! cast far behind, His vex'd associates pant, and laboring strain To climb the steep ascent. Soon as they reach Th' insulting boaster, his false courage fails, Behind he lags, doom'd to the fatal noose, His master's hate, and scorn of all the field.
WHATE ER of earth is form'd, to earth returns
Dissolv'd the various objects we behold,
Plants, animals, this whole material mass,
Are ever changing, ever new. The soul
Of man alone, that particle divine,
Escapes the wreck of worlds, when all things fail.
Hence great the distance 'twixt the beasts that perish,
And God's bright image, man's immortal race.
The brute creation are his property,
Subservient to his will, and for him made.
As hurtful these he kills, as useful those
Preserves; their sole and arbitrary king.
What can from such be hop'd, but a base brood Of coward curs, a frantic, vagrant race?
When now the third revolving Moon appears, With sharpen'd horns, above th' horizon's brink, Without Lucina's aid, expect thy hopes Are amply crown'd; short pangs produce to light The smoking litter; crawling, helpless, blind, Nature their guide, they seek the pouting teat That plenteous streams. Soon as the tender dam Has form'd them with her tongue, with pleasure view
The marks of their renown'd progenitors,
Sure pledge of triumphs yet to come.
Select with joy; but to the merciless flood
Expose the dwindling refuse, nor o'erload
Th' indulgent mother. If thy heart relent,
Unwilling to destroy, a nurse provide,
And to the foster-parent give the care
Of thy superfluous brood; she'll cherish kind
The alien offspring; pleas'd thou shalt behold
Her tenderness, and hospitable love.
If frolic now and playful they desert
Their gloomy cell, and on the verdant turf,
With nerves improv'd, pursue the mimic chase,
Coursing around; unto the choicest friends
Commit thy valued prize: the rustic dames
Shall at thy kennel wait, and in their laps
Receive thy growing hopes, with many a kiss
Caress, and dignify their little charge
With some great title, and resounding name
Of high import. But cautious here observe
To check their youthful ardor, nor permit
The unexperienc'd younker, immature,
Alone to range the woods, or haunt the brakes
Where dodging conies sport; his nerves unstrung,
And strength unequal; the laborious chase
Shall stint his growth, and his rash forward youth
Contract such vicious habits, as thy care
And late correction never shall reclaim.
The panting wretch; till, breathless and astunn'd
Stretch'd on the turf he lie. Then spare not thou
The twining whip, but ply his bleeding sides
Lash after lash, and with thy threatening voice,
Harsh-echoing from the hills, inculcate loud
His vile offence. Sooner shall trembling doves
Escap'd the hawk's sharp talons, in mid air,
Assail their dangerous foe, than he once more
Disturb the peaceful flocks. In tender age
Thus youth is train'd; as curious artists bend
The taper pliant twig, or potters form
Their soft and ductile clay to various shapes.
Nor is 't enough to breed; but to preserve,
Must be the huntsman's care. The staunch old
When to full strength arriv'd, mature and bold, Conduct them to the field; not all at once, But as thy cooler prudence shall direct, Select a few, and form them by degrees To stricter discipline. With these consort The staunch and steady sages of thy pack, By long experience vers'd in all the wiles And subtle doublings of the various Chase. Easy the lesson of the youthful train When instinct prompts, and when example guides. If the too forward younker at the head Press boldly on in wanton sportive mood, Correct his haste, and let him feel abash'd The ruling whip. But if he stoop behind In wary modest guise, to his own nose Confiding sure; give him full scope to work His winding way, and with thy voice applaud His patience, and his care: soon shalt thou view The hopeful pupil leader of his tribe, And all the listening pack attend his call.
Oft lead them forth where wanton lambkins play, And bleating dams with jealous eyes observe Their tender care. If at the crowding flock He bay presumptuous, or with eager haste Pursue them scatter'd o'er the verdant plain, In the foul fact attach'd, to the strong ram Tie fast the rash offender. See! at first His horn'd companion, fearful and amaz'd, Shall drag him trembling o'er the rugged ground; Then, with his load fatigu'd, shall turn ahead, And with his curl'd hard front incessant peal
Guides of thy pack, though but in number few,
Are yet of great account; shall oft untie
The Gordian knot, when reason at a stand
Puzzling is lost, and all thy art is vain.
O'er clogging fallows, o'er dry plaster'd roads,
O'er floated meads, o'er plains with flocks distain'd
Rank-scenting, these must lead the dubious,
As party-chiefs in senates who preside,
With pleaded reason and with well-turn'd speech,
Conduct the staring multitude; so these
Direct the pack, who with joint cry approve,
And loudly boast discoveries not their own.
Unnumber'd accidents, and various ills,
Attend thy pack, hang hovering o'er their heads,
And point the way that leads to Death's dark
Short is their span; few at the date arrive
Of ancient Argus, in old Homer's song
So highly honor'd: kind, sagacious brute!
Not ev'n Minerva's wisdom could conceal
Thy much-lov'd master from thy nicer sense.
Dying his lord he own'd, view'd him all o'er
With eager eyes, then clos'd those eyes, well pleas'd.
Of lesser ills the Muse declines to sing,
Nor stoops so low; of these each groom can tell
The proper remedy. But O! what care,
What prudence, can prevent madness, the worst
Of maladies? Terrific pest! that blasts
The huntsman's hopes, and desolation spreads
Through all th' unpeopled kennel unrestrain'd,
More fatal than th' envenom'd viper's bite;
Or that Apulian spider's poisonous sting,
Heal'd by the pleasing antidote of sounds.
When Sirius reigns, and the Sun's parching beams Bake the dry gaping surface, visit thou
Each ev'n and morn, with quick observant eye,
Thy panting pack. If, in dark sullen mood,
The glouting hound refuse his wonted meal,
Retiring to some close, obscure retreat,
Gloomy, disconsolate; with speed remove
The poor infectious wretch, and in strong chains
Bind him suspected. Thus that dire disease
Which art can't cure, wise caution may prevent.
But, this neglected, soon expect a change,
A dismal change, fusion, frenzy, death.
Or in some dark recess the senseless brute
Sits sadly pining; deep melancholy,
And black despair, upon his clouded brow
Hang lowering; from his half-opening jaws
The clammy venom, and infectious froth,
Distilling fall; and from his lungs inflam'd,
Malignant vapors taint the ambient air,
Breathing perdition; his dim eyes are glaz'd,
He droops his pensive head, his trembling limbs
No more support his weight; abject he lies,
Dumb, spiritless, benumb'd; till Death at last
Gracious attends, and kindly brings relief.
Or, if outrageous grown, behold, alas!
A yet more dreadful scene; his glaring eyes
Redden with fury, like some angry boar
Churning he foams; and on his back erect
His pointed bristles rise; his tail incurv'd
He drops, and with harsh broken howlings rends
The poison-tainted air; with rough hoarse voice
Incessant bays, and snuffs the infectious breeze;
This way and that he stares aghast, and starts
At his own shade: jealous, as if he deem'd
The world his foes. If haply towards the stream
He cast his roving eye, cold horror chills
His soul; averse he flies, trembling, appall'd.
Now frantic to the kennel's utmost verge
Raving he runs, and deals destruction round.
The pack fly diverse; for whate'er he meets
Vengeful he bites, and every bite is death.
If now perchance through the weak fence escap'd Far up the wind he roves, with open mouth Inhales the cooling breeze; nor man, nor beast, He spares implacable. The hunter-horse, Once kind associate of his sylvan toils, (Who haply now without the kennel's mound Crops the rank mead, and listening hears with joy The cheering cry, that morn and eve salutes His raptur'd sense,) a wretched victim falls. Unhappy quadruped! no more, alas! Shall thy fond master with his voice applaud Thy gentleness, thy speed; or with his hand Stroke thy soft dappled sides, as he each day Visits thy stall, well pleas'd; no more shalt thou With sprightly neighings, to the winding horn, And the loud opening pack in concert join'd, Glad his proud heart. For oh! the secret wound Rankling inflames, he bites the ground, and dies! Hence to the village with pernicious haste Baleful he bends his course: the village flies Alarm'd; the tender mother in her arms Hugs close the trembling babe; the doors are barr'd, And flying curs, by native instinct taught, Shun the contagious bane; the rustic bands Hurry to arms, the rude militia scize Whate'er at hand they find; clubs, forks, or guns, From every quarter charge the furious foe, In wild disorder, and uncouth array:
Till, now with wounds on wounds oppress'd and gor'd,
At one short poisonous gasp he breathes his last.
Hence to the kennel. Muse, return, and view
With heavy heart that hospital of woe;
Where Horror stalks at large! insatiate Death
Sits growling o'er his prey: each hour presents
A different scene of ruin and distress.
How busy art thou, Fate! and how severe
Thy pointed wrath! the dying and the dead
Promiscuous lie; o'er these the living fight
In one eternal broil; not conscious why
Nor yet with whom. So drunkards, in their cups,
Spare not their friends, while senseless squabble
The wound; spare not thy flesh, nor dread th' event: Vulcan shall save when Æsculapius fails.
Huntsman! it much behoves thee to avoid The perilous debate! Ah! rouse up all Thy vigilance, and tread the treacherous ground With careful step. Thy fires unquench'd preserve, As erst the vestal flames; the pointed steel In the hot embers hide; and if surpris'd Thou feel'st the deadly bite, quick urge it home Into the recent sore, and cauterize
Here should the knowing Muse recount the means To stop this growing plague. And here, alas! Each hand presents a sovereign cure, and boasts Infallibility, but boasts in vain.
On this depend, each to his separate seat
Confine, in fetters bound; give each his mess
Apart, his range in open air; and then
If deadly symptoms to thy grief appear,
Devote the wretch, and let him greatly fall,
A generous victim for the public weal.
Sing, philosophic Muse, the dire effects Of this contagious bite on hapless man. The rustic swains, by long tradition taught Of leeches old, as soon as they perceive The bite impress'd, to the sea-coasts repair. Plung'd in the briny flood, th' unhappy youth Now journeys home secure; but soon shall wish The seas as yet had cover'd him beneath The foaming surge, full many a fathom deep. A fate more dismal, and superior ills, Hang o'er his head devoted. When the Moon, Closing her monthly round, returns again To glad the night; or when full-orb'd she shines High in the vault of Heaven; the lurking pest Begins the dire assault. The poisonous foam Through the deep wound instill'd with hostile rage, And all its fiery particles saline, Invades th' arterial fluid: whose red waves Tempestuous heave, and their cohesion broke, Fermenting boil; intestine war ensues, And order to confusion turns embroil'd. Now the distended vessels scarce contain The wild uproar, but press each weaker part Unable to resist: the tender brain
And stomach suffer most; convulsions shake
His trembling nerves, and wandering pungent pains
Pinch sore the sleepless wretch; his fluttering pulse
Oft intermits; pensive, and sad, he mourns
His cruel fate, and to his weeping friends
Laments in vain; to hasty anger prone,
Resents each slight offence, walks with quick step,
And wildly stares; at last with boundless sway
The tyrant frenzy reigns: for as the dog
(Whose fatal bite convey'd th' infectious bane)
Raving he foams, and howls, and barks, and bites;
Like agitations in his boiling blood
Present like species to his troubled mind;
His nature and his actions all canine.
So (as old Homer sung) th' associates wild
Of wandering Ithacus, by Circe's charms [groves, To swine transform'd, ran grunting through the Dreadful example to a wicked world!
See there distress'd he lies! parch'd up with thirst, But dares not drink. Till now at last his soul Trembling escapes, her noisome dungeon leaves, And to some purer region wings away.
One labor yet remains, celestial Maid! Another element demands thy song.
No more o'er craggy steep, through coverts thick
With pointed thorn, and briers intricate,
Urge on with horn and voice the painful pack:
But skim with wanton wing the irriguous vale,
Where winding streams amid the flowery meads
Perpetual glide along; and undermine
The cavern'd banks, by the tenacious roots
Of hoary willows arch'd; gloomy retreat
Of the bright scaly kind; where they at will
On the green watery reed their pasture graze,
Suck the moist soil, or slumber at their ease,
Rock'd by the restless brook, that draws aslope
Its humid train, and laves their dark abodes.
Where rages not Oppression? Where, alas!
Is Innocence secure? Rapine and Spoil
Haunt ev'n the lowest deeps; seas have their sharks,
Rivers and ponds inclose the ravenous pike;
He in his turn becomes a prey; on him
Th' amphibious otter feasts. Just is his fate
Deserv'd: but tyrants know no bounds; nor spears
That bristle on his back, defend the perch
From his wide greedy jaws; nor burnish'd mail
The yellow carp; nor all his arts can save
Th' insinuating eel, that hides his head
Beneath the slimy mud; nor yet escapes
The crimson-spotted trout, the river's pride,
And beauty of the stream. Without remorse,
This midnight pillager, ranging around,
Insatiate swallows all. The owner mourns
Th' unpeopled rivulet, and gladly hears
The huntsman's early call, and sees with joy
The jovial crew, that march upon its banks
In gay parade, with bearded lances arm'd.
The subtle spoiler, of the beaver kind,
Far off perhaps, where ancient alders shade
The deep still pool, within some hollow trunk
Contrives his wicker couch: whence he surveys
His long purlieu, lord of the stream, and all
The finny shoals his own. But you, brave youths,
Dispute the felon's claim; try every root,
And every reedy bank; encourage all
The busy spreading pack, that fearless plunge
Into the flood, and cross the rapid stream.
Bid rocks and caves, and each resounding shore,
Proclaim your bold defiance; loudly raise
Each cheering voice, till distant hills repeat
The triumphs of the vale. On the soft sand
See there his seal impress'd! and on that bank
Behold the glittering spoils, half-eaten fish,
Scales, fins, and bones, the leavings of his feast.
Ah! on that yielding sag-bed, see, once more
His seal I view. O'er yon dank rushy marsh
The sly goose-footed prowler bends his course,
And seeks the distant shallows. Huntsman, bring
Thy eager pack, and trail him to his couch.
Hark! the loud peal begins, the clamorous joy,
The gallant chiding, loads the trembling air.
Ye Naiads fair, who o'er these floods preside, Raise up your dripping heads above the wave, And hear our melody. Th' harmonious notes Float with the stream; and every winding creek And hollow rock, that o'er the dimpling flood Nods pendent, still improve from shore to shore Our sweet reiterated joys. What shouts! What clamor loud! What gay heart-cheering sounds Urge through the breathing brass their mazy way! Nor quires of Tritons glad with sprightlier strains The dancing billows, when proud Neptune rides In triumph o'er the deep. How greedily They snuff the fishy steam, that to each blade Rank-scenting clings! See! how the morning dews They sweep, that from their feet besprinkling drop Dispers'd, and leave a track oblique behind. Now on firm land they range; then in the flood They plunge tumultuous; or through reedy pools Rustling they work their way: no hole escapes Their curious search. With quick sensation now The fuming vapor stings; flutter their hearts, And joy redoubled bursts from every mouth In louder symphonies. Yon hollow trunk,
That with its hoary head incurv'd salutes
The passing wave, must be the tyrant's fort,
And dread abode. How these impatient climb,
While others at the root incessant bay!
They put him down. See, there he drives along!
Th' ascending bubbles mark his gloomy way.
Quick fix the nets, and cut off his retreat
Into the sheltering deeps. Ah! there he vents!
The pack plunge headlong, and protended spears
Menace destruction: while the troubled surge
Indignant foams, and all the scaly kind,
Affrighted, hide their heads. Wild tumult reigns,
And loud uproar. Ah, there once more he vents!
See, that bold hound has seiz'd him! down they sink,
Together lost: but soon shall he repent
His rash assault. See, there escap'd, he flies
Half-drown'd, and clambers up the slippery bank
With ooze and blood distain'd. Of all the brutes,
Whether by Nature form'd, or by long use,
This artful diver best can bear the want
Of vital air. Unequal is the fight,
Beneath the whelming element. Yet there
He lives not long; but respiration needs
At proper intervals. Again he vents;
Again the crowd attack. That spear has pierc'd
His neck; the crimson waves confess the wound.
Fixt is the bearded lance, unwelcome guest,
Where'er he flies; with him it sinks beneath,
With him it mounts; sure guide to every foe.
Inly he groans; nor can his tender wound
Bean the cold stream. Lo! to yon sedgy bank
He creeps disconsolate: his numerous foes
Surround him, hounds, and men. Pierc'd through
On pointed spears they lift him high in air;
Wriggling he hangs, and grins, and bites in vain:
Bid the loud horns, in gaily-warbling strains,
Proclaim the felon's fate; he dies, he dies.
Rejoice, ye scaly tribes, and leaping dance Above the wave, in sign of liberty Restor'd; the cruel tyrant is no more. Rejoice secure and bless'd; did not as yet Remain some of your own rapacious kind; And man, fierce man, with all his various wiles. O happy! if ye knew your happy state, Ye rangers of the fields; whom Nature boon Cheers with her smiles, and every element Conspires to bless. What, if no heroes frown From marble pedestals; nor Raphael's works, Nor Titian's lively tints, adorn our walls? Yet these the meanest of us may behold; And at another's cost may feast at will Our wondering eyes; what can the owner more? But vain, alas! is wealth, not grac'd with power. The flowery landscape, and the gilded dome, And vistas opening to the wearied eye, Through all his wide domain; the planted grove, The shrubby wilderness, with its gay choir Of warbling birds, can't lull to soft repose Th' ambitious wretch, whose discontented soul Is harrow'd day and night; he mourns, he pines, Until his prince's favor makes him great. See, there he comes, th' exalted idol comes! The circle's form'd, and all his fawning slaves Devoutly bow to earth; from every mouth The nauseous flattery flows, which he returns With promises, that die as soon as born. Vile intercourse! where virtue has no place. Frown but the monarch; all his glories fade; He mingles with the throng, outcast, undone,