網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

The deluge deepens ; till the fields around
Lie sunk, and flatted, in the fordid wave.

335
Sudden, the ditches swell; the meadows fwim.
Red, from the hills, innumerable streams
Tumultuous roar; and high above its banks
The river lift; before whose ruling tide,
Herds, flocks, and harvests, cottages, and swains, 340
Roll mingled down; all that the winds had spar'd
In one wild moment ruin’d; the big hopes,
And well-earn'd treasures of the painful year.
Fled to fome eminence, the husbandman
Helpless beholds the miserable wreck

345 Driving along; his drowning ox at once Descending, with his labours scatter'd round, He sees; and instant o'er his shivering thought Comes Winter unprovided, and a train Of clamant children dear. Ye masters, then, Be mindful of the rough laborious hand, That sinks you foft in elegance and ease; Be mindful of those limbs in rufset clad Whose toil to yours is warmth, and graceful pride; And, oh! be mindful of that sparing board, 355 Which covers yours with luxury profuse, Makes your glass sparkle, and your sense rejoice! Nor cruelly demand what the deep rains And all-involving winds have swept away.

Here the ruđe clamour of the sportsman's joy, The gun fast-thundering, and the winded horn, Would tempt the Muse to sing the rural game : Hoxt, in his mid-career, the spaniel ftruck,

350

360

open nose,

Stiff, by the tainted gale, with
Out-stretch'd, and finely sensible, draws full, 5
Fearful, and cautious, on the latent prey;
As in the sun the circling covey bask
Their varied plumes, and watchful every way,
Through the rough stubble turn the secret eye.
Caught in the methy snare, in vain they beat

37
Their idle wings, entangled more and more :
Nor on the surges of the boundless air,
Though borne triumphant, are they safe ; the

gun,
Glanc'd just, and sudden, from the fowler's eye
O’ertakes their founding pinions; and again, 375
Immediate, brings them from the towering wing,
Dead to the ground; or drives them wide-dispers’d,
Wounded, and wheeling various, down the wind.

These are not subjects for the peaceful Muse,
Nor will the stain with such her spotless fong;
Then most delighted, when the social sees
The whole mix'd animal-creation round
Alive, and happy. 'Tis not joy to her,
This falsely-chearful barbarous game of death ;
This

rage of pleasure, which the restless youth 385
Awakes, impatient, with the gleaming morn;
When beasts of prey retire, that all night long,
Urg'd by necessity, had rang'd the dark,
As if their conscious ravage shun’d the light,
Alham'd. Not so the steady tyrant man,

390 Who with the thoughtless infolence of power Inflam’d, beyond the most infuriate wrath Of the worst monster that e'er roam'd the waste,

For

380

I 4

For sport alone pursues the cruel chace,
Amid the beamings of the gentle days.

393
Upbraid, ye ravening tribes, our wanton rage,
For hunger kindles you, and lawless want ;
But lavish fed, in Nature's bounty roll'd,
To joy at anguish, and delight in blood,
Is what your horrid bosoms never knew.

400 Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare ! Scar'd from the corn, and now to some lone seat Retir'd: the rushy fen ; the ragged furze, Stretch'd o'er the ftony heath; the stubble chapt; The thistly lawn; the thick entangled broom; 403 Of the same friendly hue, the wither'd fern; The fallow ground laid open to the fun, Concoctive; and the nodding fandy bank, Hung c'er the mazes of the mountain brook. Vain is her best precaution ; though she fits 410 Conceal'd, with folded ears ; unsleeping eyes, By Nature rais’d to take th’ horizon in; And head couch'd close betwixt her hairy feet, In act to spring away. The scented dew Betrays her early labyrinth; and deep,

415 In scatter'd sullen openings, far behind, With every breeze the hears the coming storm. But nearer, and more frequent, as it loads 'The fighing gale, she springs amaz’d, and all The favage foul of game

is
up at once :

420
The pack full-opening, various; the shrill horn
Resounded from the hills; the neighing steed,
Wild for the chace; and the loud hunter's shout';

O'er

the more

O’er a weak, harmless, flying creature, all
Mix'd in mad tumult, and discordant joy. 425

The stag too, fingled from the herd, where long
He rang'd the branching monarch of the shades,
Before the tempest drives. At first, in fpeed
He, sprightly, puts his faith; and, rous'd by fear,
Gives all his swift aërial foul to flight; X 430
Against the breeze he darts, that

way To leave the lessening murderous cry behind : Deception short! though feeter than the winds Blown o'er the keen-air'd mountains by the north, He bursts the thickets, glances through the glades, 435 And plunges deep into the wildest wood; If flow, yet sure, adhefive to the track Hot-steaming, up behind him come again Th'inhuman rout, and from the shady depth's side and Expel him, circling through his every shift. 440 He sweeps the forest oft; and sobbing fees The glades, mild opening to the golden day; Where, in kind contest, with his butting friends He wont to struggle, or his loves enjoy. Oft in the full-descending flood he tries

445 To lose the fcent, and lave his burning sides : Oft seeks the herd; the watchful herd, alarm’d, With felfish care avoid a brother's woe. What shall he do? His once so vivid nerves, So full of buoyant spirit, now no more

450 Inspire the course; but fainting breathless toil, Sick, seizes on his heart: he stands at bay; And puts his last weak refuge in despair.

The

The big round tears run down his dappled face;
He groans in anguish ; while the growling pack, 455
Blood-happy, hang at his fair jutting chest,
And mark his beauteous checker'd fides with gore.

Of this enough. But if the sylvan youth,
Whose fervent blood boils into violence,
Must have the chace; behold, despising flight,

460
The rous’d-up lion, resolute, and now,
Advancing full on the protended fpear,
And coward-band, that circling wheel aloof.
Slunk from the cavern, and the troubled wood,
See the grim wolf; on him his shaggy foe 465
Vindictive fix, and let the ruffian die :
Or, growling horrid, as the brindled boar
Grins fell destruction, to the monster's heart
Let the dart lighten from the nervous arm.

These Britain knows not; give, ye Britons, then
Your sportive fury, pityless, to pour
Loose on the nightly robber of the fold :
Him, from his craggy winding haunts unearth'd,
Let all the thunder of the chace pursue.
Throw the broad ditch behind you ; o'er the hedge 495
High-bound, resistless; nor the deep morafs
Refuse, but through the shaking wilderness
Pick
your
nice
way;

into the perilous flood
Bear fearless, of the raging instinct full;
And as you ride the torrent, to the banks
Your triumph found fonorous, running round,
From rock to rock, in circling echos tost;
Then scale the mountains to their woody tops ;

Ruth

480

« 上一頁繼續 »