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“whoop," which was the never failing signal of a close mark, and which, indeed, procured for him that designation. I have no doubt that in ruder and earlier days his sons would have been “Whoops," and the surname would have descended to posterity ; at all events I have the authority of Mark Anthony Lower, Esq., for the supposition ; but as he writes very pleasantly himself on the subject, the reader will readily pardon the digression if I quote his own words,
“ The number and variety of surnames connected with the pleasures of the chase furnish evidence of the predilection of our ancestors for
Thus, we have in great abundance our Hunters, Fowlers, Fishers, Falconers, Hawkers, Warreners. Buckman and Hartman were probably servants to the “ Parker,” and had the care of herds of veni
Brockman is a hunter of “ brocks” or badgers. A “tod,” in Scotland and the north of England, is a fox; hence Todhunter is a fox-hunter, though not in the red-coated sense of that term. Burder signifies a bird-catcher or fowler, as the following jest, written upwards of three centuries since, will prove :
66. There was a doctour on a tyme, which desired a fouler, that went to catche byrdes with an owle, that he might go with hym. The byrder was content, and dressed hym with bows, and set hym by his oule, and bade hym say nothynge. Whan he saw the byrdes alyght a pace, he sayde: There be many byrdes alyghted, drawe thy nettes ;' wherewith the byrdes flewe awaye. The byrder was very angry, and blamed him greatly for his speakyng. Than he promised to hold his peace. Whan the byrder was in again, and many byrdes were alyghted, Mayster Doctour said in Latyn, Aves permuliè adsunt : wherewith the byrdes flewe awaye. The byrder came out ryghte angrye and sore displeased, and sayde, that by his bablynge he had twyce loste his pray.
Why, thynkest thou, foole,' quoth the doctour, that the byrdes do understand Latin ? »
At 4 o'clock I made Will turn out the game-bag : it contained six couple of woodcock, a brace of grouse that I had sprung on the mountain edge at the back of the covers, and two couple of snipe-a charming day's sport.
My plan of shooting cocks is to walk up to my dogs in cover, and to let drive as soon as the cock fushes, before he is quite clear of the bushes above. I detest and abhor that modern plan of being planted at a post where you are to stand still till the game is driven into your face, or to wade through a cover up to your middle in pheasants. I love to see the busy, well-broken team doing their duty around you, and when they get upon the haunt of a cock, questing by way of summons, and bustling him up in the merriest mood—that's the legitimate English method ; the other is bastard and foreign.
We returned to our quarters with cheerful hearts and good appetites : the landlord had provided us with a substantial dinner, and the mountain air with the best of sauce. The spaniels were also brought in before the kitchen fire, to dry and warm themselves before they were fed and turned up for the night. I have always found this plan to be advisable, from the great advantage of artificial heat to the wet and tired animal, and have already said that if you work a team of strong spaniels every day for a week in a rough cocking country, and each night let them enjoy the comforts of a good fire ere they go to kennel, and work the
same team on the same terms barring the fire, you will find that in the . former case they will continue fresh and ready for work up to the last day, while in the latter they will be found dull and slack, and usually off their feed before the third day. If I am asked to assign a cause for the beneficial effect I ascribe to heat, I answer, that long and continued friction of the bones exhaust the sinovial fluid that lubricates the joints, the absence of which fluid induces pain and fatigue, and that artificial heat disposes it to flow again more readily, whereby the tired animal acquires rest and relief.
I cannot describe the pleasure I felt in roaming through these deep, unfrequented wood lands in quest of my wild game, unbored and unshackled by the trammels of custom ; no villain of a keeper at my elbow to growl “ Hen" in my ear, as a cock flipped up from the alders ; no battueswell-homo factus ad unguem-to insist on my keeping line, or to recommend the position of my gun-muzzle in reference to himself and the skies ; and if I flushed a cock ten times, and he always flew ahead, I was in no danger of getting my dogs into my neighbour's gins, or myself into hot water by following my game. There are no pheasants here to be preservedno heartburnings on their account-no foxmurdering on their behalf. Pity the bird should ever have been imported to this country, as it brings envy, hatred, and malice in its train, with its long tail and painted feathers ! A cock, on the other hand, comes with the winds, and goes with them : he is here to-day—in Siberia or the shores of the Levant to-morrow! Bless the bird! the very flip of his wing lights up my eye, and excites my pulsation! I delight in his visits, and, as long as my health continues, will never fail to give him a warm reception, and a hearty welcome.
At the end of the fourth day I had bagged 18 couple of woodcock, 12 couple of snipe, a brace of grouse, and a brace of hares : sufficient blood to satisfy the keenest of fowlers, as it did me for the rest of the season ; but hæc decies repetita placebit, I am free to confess that during these four days my appetite for the sport was insatiable, and I felt like the leech, or the great Beggar-man, not disposed to relax, nisi plena cruoris, till my wallet was full,
In a work entitled, “ The Journal of a Naturalist," I find the following observation :-“ Some of our birds, especially waders and aquatic birds, are annually diminishing in numbers; others have been entirely destroyed, or no longer visit the shores of Britain ; an ornithological list made no longer ago than the days of Elizabeth would present the names of multitudes now aliens to our shores.”
That woodcocks are every year becoming more and more scarce is an undeniable fact, and I grieve to note it : in the event of their total extinction, I shall provide myself with a stuffed pair (as was recommended about the Quakers when the Registrar-General proclaimed their decline); they shall occupy a glass-case in a comfortable niche in my dining-room, and shall be regarded by posterity, if not as a curiosity, at least as having once acted a prominent part in the sports and feasts of the world.
In working our way homewards on the last day, we passed through a small hamlet about two miles from “ The Mountain Ash,” where we paused awhile, to listen to the sounds of music which proceeded from the village inn. We entered forthwith, and, taking a seat by the fire, called for a can of “cwrw da”—a rare tap it proved to be. The minstrel was a Welsh girl, playing on the native harp, and singing her mountain songs : I listened with raptures for two hours, and could hardly make up my mind which to admire most, her simple and touching melodies, or her own pretty face and artless manner. There was one Welsh song, however, with a plaintive air, which I liked beyond all the rest ; this, she told me in broken English, was a song addressed to the robin by the famous lyrical bard, “ Jeuan Ddu;” and she then gave me a short sketch of its burthen, the recollection of which produced, some months afterwards, the following verses. These I took care to send to my “Syren of Song" in the mountains, in token that she was not altogether forgotten by her Captive Fowler
TO THE ROBIN RED-BREAST.
Thy song of sorrow, robin, sing
I love it well to hear ;
And thou the by-gone year.
Plaintive and sad it sounds to me,
That solemn song of thine ;
The past has frozen mine.
The downy mantle of thy breast
Rivals the rosy morn;
May haply laugh to scorn.
Domestic songster, sing away,
Nor heed the sleety rain ;
Till spring-tide come again.
But say, my pretty robin, say
What balm can soothe the mind;
Or where a solace find ?
Not in the gay and giddy world,
Nor yet the festive bowl;
Destruction to the soul.
My robin dear! the winter o’er,
Thy sorrows all will cease :
My blighted, broken peace.
Troll, robin troll! thy song, I own,
Excites my sympathy ;
A heavenly spring for me.
ENGLISH SPORTS.-II UN TING.
BY LORD WILLIAM LENNOX.
Somerville, in his poem of the “Chace," proves himself to have been not only a speculative, but a real sportsman; and his language, sentiments, and the incidents he describes, all display a thorough knowledge of the subjects he writes upon. His true and correct description of the kennel, his vivid portraiture of the hounds, his spirited sketch of the hare and beagle, his philosophical discussion upon scent, his graphic picture of the fiery courser, his poetical language in writing of the music of the chace, his striking vigour in bringing to our mind's eye the Indian mode of hunting, his historical account of the extirpation of the wolf, and last, not least, his lively and animated full-length portraiture of fox-hunting, the casting off of the hounds, their working upon the scent, the unkennelling of the fox, his breaking cover, and the full cry of the hounds, are most exciting pictures, and inspire the greatest enthusiasm for the noble science. In short, the talent of the poet lies in delineating every-day scenes with the greatest spirit and fidelity, added to a well-varied and flowing versification, free from over-strained and affected metaphors, and, literally speaking, suiting the language to the subject he so admirably describes. In his classical allusions he is not deficient, as will be evident by the following condensed quotations from his preface:
" It is quite certain that hunting was the exercise of the greatest heroes in antiquity. By this they formed themselves for war; and their exploits against wild beasts were a prelude to their other victories. Xenophon says that almost all the ancient heroes, Nestor, Theseus, Castor, Pollux, Ulysses, Diomedes, Achilles, &c., were disciples of hunting; being taught carefully that art, as what would
hly serviceable to them in military discipline. And Pliny observes, those who were designed for great captains were first taught certare cum fugacibus feris cursu, cum audacibus robore, cum callidis astu. And the Roman emperors, in the monuments they erected to transmit their actions to future ages, made no scruple to join the glories of the chace to their most celebrated triumphs. But we have commenced by quoting modern authorities, when we ought to have harked back to more ancient ones. The Greek and Latin poets write with vigour upon the chace, as we can well remember in our school days; there was not a Virgil or Homer, in the upper row of the fourth form, when we were at Westminster, that had not all the passages connected with the chace and other sports noted down, and translated; and although little Johnny Campbell, our tutor—and all old Westminster will remember this worthy dominie-was no great sportsman himself, never shall we forget his smile of approval, when, upon one occasion, he found a most graphic, if not classical, translation of the following lines :
“ En age, segnes,
VIRG. GEORG. iii.
To proceed with our classical lore. Ovid thus writes of his contemporary, Gratius :
'Gratius shall arm the huntsman for the chace." Unfortunately the works of the latter are scarce.
Of a more modern date, we find among the contributors to the sporting literature of the day, Nemesianus, who seems superior to Gratius, but of whose writings only a fragment remains.
Virgil, in his third Georgic, gives a few lines upon greyhounds and mastiffs :
" Veloces Spartæ catulos, acremque Molossum
Pascc sero pingui.” But it would be endless to quote the numerous passages upon this subject from foreign writers; proceed we to our own native bard :
"The hounds shall make the welkin answer them,
And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth." So writes the “ deer-stealer," "call-boy," and “horse-holder," William Shakspeare, for each of these, according to ancient traditions, has the poet been called. Not that I put much faith in such legends; for I have little doubt but that the deer-stealing was a lark, that species of young gentlemanlike poaching which few youths have not indulged in; as for the call-boy story, Mr. Collier has quite proved an alibi for the “worthy, gentle, and beloved” William; and the writer of " a horse ! a horse! my kingdom för a horsc!” is not, in my mind, likely to have ever been a “ cad” at the theatre door, exclaiming, “ Please to want your horse holded, sir." Well, the bard of Avon was right, as were other poets who eulogize the
" Echoes loud,
Of mirth and jocund din.” For there is nothing more exhilarating to the senses of all keen and ardent spostsmen than the rich and deep-toned voices of the hounds, so full of music, as they are heard across the valley, echoing through the woods. Much has been written upon “ first love," and we freely admit it is an all-absorbing passion; and so, at least as far as we are concerned, is the first initiation into the delights of the chace. Never shall I forget the days when, as a boy of twelve years of age, I was passing the Christmas holidays at Stoke Park, near Chichester, Sussex; and during that happy period I was fortunate enough to get two mounts with the Goodwood hounds, afterwards sold to George the Fourth for the Royal Windsor Stag-hunt. Never will the impression of my first day with the foxhounds be effaced from my