« 上一頁繼續 »
Rush down the dangerous steep; and o'er the lawn,
In fancy swallowing up the space between, 485
Pour all your speed into the rapid game,
For happy he !- who tops the wheeling chace; ·
Has every maze evolv’d, and every guile
Disclos'd; who knows the merits of the pack;
Who saw the villain seiz'd, and dying hard, 490
Without complaint, though by an hundred mouths
Relentless torn: O glorious he, beyond
His daring peers! when the retreating horn
Calls them to ghoftly halls of grey renown,
With woodland honours grac'd; the fox's fur, 495
Depending decent from the roof; and spread
Round the drear walls, with antick figures fierce,
The stag's large front: he then is loudest heard,
When the night staggers with severer toils,
With feats Thessalian Centaurs never knew, 500
And their repeated wonders shake the dome.
But first the fuel'd chimney blazes wide ;
The tankards foam; and the strong table groans
Beneath the smoking surloin, stretch'd immense
From side to side; in which, with desperate knife, 505
They deep incision make, and talk the while
Of England's glory, ne'er to be defac'd
While hence they borrow vigour: or amain
Into the pasty plung’d, at intervals,
If stomach keen can intervals allow,
510 Relating all the glories of the chace. Then sated Hunger bids his brother Thirst Produce the mighty bowl; the mighty bowl,
Swell'd high with fiery juice, steams liberal round
A potent gale, delicious as the breath
Of Maia to the love-sick shepherdess,
On violets diffus'd, while soft she hears
Her panting shepherd stealing to her arms.
Nor wanting is the brown October, drawn,
Mature and perfect, from his dark retreat
520 Of thirty years; and now his honest front Flames in the light refulgent, not afraid Ev'n with the vineyard's best produce to vie. To cheat the thirsty moments, Whist a while Walks his dull round, beneath a cloud of smoke, 525 Wreath'd, fragrant, from the pipe ; or the quick dice, In thunder leaping from the box, awake The founding gammon : while romp-loving miss Is haul'd about, in gallantry robust.
At last these puling idlenesses laid Aside, frequent and full, the dry divan Close in firm circle ; and set, ardent, in For serious drinking. Nor evasion lly, Nor sober shift, is to the puking wretch Indulg'd apart; but earnest, brimming bowls 535 Lave every foul, the table floating round, And pavement, faithlefs to the fuddled foot. Thus as they swim in mutual fwill, the talk, Vociferous at once from twenty tongues, Reels fast from theme to theme; from horses, hounds, To church or mistress, politics or ghost, In endless mazes, intricate, perplex’d. Mean-time, with sudden interruption, loud,
Th’ impatient catch bursts from the joyous heart;
That moment touch'd is every kindred soul;
And, opening in a full-mouth'd cry of joy,
The laugh, the flap, the jocund curse, go round;
While, from their flumbers fhook, the kennel'd hounds
Mix in the music of the day again.
As when the tempeft, that has vex'd the deep 550
The dark night long, with fainter murmurs falls :
So gradual sinks their mirth. Their feeble tongues
Unable to take up the cumberous word,
Lie quite diffolv’d. Before their maudlin eyes,
Seen dim, and blue, the double tapers dance, 555
Like the fun wading through the misty sky.
Then sliding soft, they drop. Confus'd above,
Glaffes and bottles, pipes and gazetteers,
As if the table ev’n itself was drunk,
Lie a wet broken scene; and wide, below,
Is heap'd the social flaughter : where aftride
The lubber Power in filthy triumph sits,
Slumberous, inclining still from side to side,
And steeps them drench'd in potent fleep till morn.
Perhaps some doctor, of tremendous paunch, 565
Awful and deep, a black abyss of drink,
Out-lives them all; and from his bury'd flock
Retiring, full of rumination fad,
Laments the weakness of these latter times.
But if the rougher sex by this fierce sport
Is hurried wild, let not such horrid joy
E’er stain the bosom of the British Fair.
Far be the spirit of the chace from them!
Uncomely courage, unbeseeming skill;
To spring the fence, to rein the prancing steed; 575
the whip, the masculine attire ;
In which they roughen to the sense, and all
The winning softness of their fex is loft.
In them ’tis graceful to diffolve at woe;
With every motion, every word, to wave
Quick o'er the kindling cheek the ready blush ;
And from the smallest violence to shrink
Unequal, then the loveliest in their fears;
And by this filent adulation, soft,
To their protection more engaging man.
585 O may
their eyes no miserable light, Save weeping lovers, see! a nobler game, Through Love's enchanting wiles pursued, yet fled, In chace ambiguous. May their tender limbs Float in the loose simplicity of dress! And, fashion'd all to harmony, alone Know they to feize the captivated soul, Ingrapture warbled from love-breathing lips; To teach the lute to languish ; with smooth step, Disclosing motion in its every charm,
595 To swim along, and swell the mazy dance; To train the foliage o’er the snowy lawn; To guide the pencil, turn the tuneful page; To lend new flavour to the fruitful year, And heighten Nature's dainties : in their race To rear their graces into second life; To give society its highest taste; Well-order'd home man's best delight to make;
And by submiffive wisdom, modest fill,
With every gentle care-eluding art,
To raise the virtues, animate the bliss,
And sweeten all the toils of human life:
This be the female dignity, and praise.
Ye swains, now hasten to the hazel bank;
Where, down yon dale, the wildly-winding brook 610
Falls hoarse from steep to steep. In close array,
Fit for the thickets and the tangling shrub,
Ye virgins con.e. For you their latest song
The woodlands raise; the clustering nuts for you
The lover finds amid the secret shade;
And, where they burnish on the topmost bough,
With active vigour crushes down the tree;
Or shakes them ripe from the resigning husk,
A glossy shower, and of an ardent brown,
As are the ringlets of Melinda's hair :
Melinda! form’d with every grace complete,
Yet these neglecting, above beauty wife,
And far transcending such a vulgar praise.
Hence from the busy joy-refounding fields,
In chearful error, let us tread the maze
Of Autumn, unconfin'd; and taste, reviv'd,
The breath of orchard big with bending fruit,
Obedient to the breeze and beating ray,
From the deep-loaded bough a mellow shower
Incessant melts away. The juicy pear
Lies, in a soft profusion, scatter'd round.
A various sweetness swells the gentle race;
By Nature's all-refining hand prepar'd;