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THE HUNTER'S SONG. RISE! Sleep no more! 'T is a noble morn. The dews hang thick on the fringéd thorn, And the frost shrinks back, like a beaten hound, Under the steaming, steaming ground. Behold where the billowy clouds flow by, And leave us alone in the clear gray sky! Our horses are ready and steady. — So, ho! I'm gone, like a dart from the Tartar's bow. Hark, hark!- Who calleth the maiden Morn From her sleep in the woods and the stubble corn? The horn, the horn!
The merry, sweet ring of the hunter's horn.
Now, through the copse where the fox is found,
And over the stream at a mighty bound,
And over the high lands, and over the low,
O'er furrows, o'er meadows, the hunters go!
Away! as a hawk flies full at his prey,
So flieth the hunter, away,
From the burst at the cover till set of sun,
When the red fox dies, and the day is done!
Hark, hark! What sound on the wind is borne ?
'Tis the conquering voice of the hunter's horn !
The merry, bold voice of the hunter's horn.
Sound! Sound the horn! To the hunter good
What's the gully deep or the roaring flood?
Right over he bounds, as the wild stag bounds,
At the heels of his swift, sure, silent hounds.
O, what delight can a mortal lack,
When he once is firm on his horse's back,
With his stirrups short, and his snaffle strong,
And the blast of the horn for his morning song?
Hark, hark! Now, home! and dream till morn
Of the bold, sweet sound of the hunter's horn!
The horn, the horn!
O, the sound of all sounds is the hunter's horn!
THE STAG HUNT.
THE stag too, singled from the herd where long He ranged the branching monarch of the shades, Before the tempest drives. At first, in speed He, sprightly, puts his faith; and, roused by fear, Gives all his swift aerial soul to flight. Against the breeze he darts, that way the more To leave the lessening murderous cry behind : Deception short! though fleeter than the winds Blown o'er the keen-aired mountain by the north, He bursts the thickets, glances through the glades, And plunges deep into the wildest wood, If slow, yet sure, adhesive to the track,
Hot-steaming, up behind him come again
The inhuman rout, and from the shady depth
Expel him, circling through his every shift.
He sweeps the forest oft; and sobbing sees
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
To lose the scent, and lave his burning sides;
Oft seeks the herd; the watchful herd, alarmed,
With selfish care avoid a brother's woe.
What shall he do? His once so vivid nerves,
So full of buoyant spirit, now no more
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 big round tears run down his dappled face;
He groans in anguish; while the growling pack,
Blood-happy, hang at his fair jutting chest,
And mark his beauteous checkered sides with gore.
As Chief who hears his warder call,
"To arms! the foemen storm the wall,"
The antlered monarch of the waste
Sprung from his heathery couch in haste.
But, ere his fleet career he took,
The dew-drops from his flanks he shook;
Like crested leader proud and high
Tossed his beamed frontlet to the sky;
A moment gazed adown the dale,
A moment snuffed the tainted gale,
A moment listened to the cry,
That thickened as the chase drew nigh;
Then, as the headmost foes appeared,
With one brave bound the copse he cleared,
And, stretching forward free and far,
Sought the wild heaths of Uam-Var.
Yelled on the view the opening pack;
Rock, glen, and cavern paid them back;
To many a mingled sound at once
The awakened mountain gave response.
A hundred dogs bayed deep and strong,
Clattered a hundred steeds along,
Their peal the merry horns rung out,
A hundred voices joined the shout;
With hark and whoop and wild halloo.
No rest Benvoirlich's echoes knew.
Far from the tumult fled the roe;
Close in her covert cowered the doe;
The falcon, from her cairn on high,
Cast on the rout a wondering eye,
Till far beyond her piercing ken
The hurricane had swept the glen.
Faint, and more faint, its failing din
Returned from cavern, cliff, and linn,
And silence settled, wide and still,
On the lone wood and mighty hill.
Less loud the sounds of sylvan war
Disturbed the heights of Uam-Var,
And roused the cavern, where, 't is told,
A giant made his den of old;
For ere that steep ascent was won,
High in his pathway hung the sun,
And many a gallant, stayed perforce,
Was fain to breathe his faltering horse,
And of the trackers of the deer,
Scarce half the lessening pack was near;
So shrewdly on the mountain-side
Had the bold burst their mettle tried.
The noble stag was pausing now
Upon the mountain's southern brow,
Where broad extended, far beneath,
The varied realms of fair Menteith.
With anxious eye he wandered o'er
Mountain and meadow, moss and moor,
And pondered refuge from his toil,
By far Lochard or Aberfoyle.
Alone, but with unbated zeal,
That horseman piled the scourge and steel;
For, jaded now, and spent with toil,
Embossed with foam, and dark with soil,
While every gasp with sobs he drew,
The laboring stag strained full in view.
Two dogs of black St. Hubert's breed,
Unmatched for courage, breath, and speed,
Fast on his flying traces came,
And all but won that desperate game;
For, scarce a spear's length from his haunch,
Vindictive toiled the bloodhounds stanch;
Nor nearer might the dogs attain,
Nor farther might the quarry strain.
Thus up the margin of the lake,
Between the precipice and brake,
O'er stock and rock their race they take.
The Hunter marked that mountain high,
The lone lake's western boundary,
And deemed the stag must turn to bay,
Where that huge rampart barred the way;
Already glorying in the prize,
Measured his antlers with his eyes;
For the death-wound and death-halloo
Mustered his breath, his whinyard drew
But thundering as he came prepared,
With ready arm and weapon bared,
The wily quarry shunned the shock,
And turned him from the opposing rock;
Then, dashing down a darksome glen,
Soon lost to hound and hunter's ken,
In the deep Trosachs' wildest nook
His solitary refuge took.
There, while close couched, the thicket shed
Cold dews and wild flowers on his head,
He heard the baffled dogs in vain Rave through the hollow pass amain, Chiding the rocks that yelled again.
Close on the hounds the hunter came,
To cheer them on the vanished game;
But, stumbling in the rugged dell,
The gallant horse exhausted fell.
The impatient rider strove in vain
To rouse him with the spur and rein,
For the good steed, his labors o'er,
Stretched his stiff limbs, to rise no more;
Then, touched with pity and remorse,
He sorrowed o'er the expiring horse.
"I little thought, when first thy rein
I slacked upon the banks of Seine,
That Highland eagle e'er should feed
On thy fleet limbs, my matchless steed!
Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day,
That costs thy life, my gallant gray !"
Then through the dell his horn resounds,
From vain pursuit to call the hounds.
Back limped, with slow and crippled pace,
The sulky leaders of the chase;
Close to their master's side they pressed,
With drooping tail and humbled crest ;
But still the dingle's hollow throat
Prolonged the swelling bugle-note.
The owlets started from their dream,
The eagles answered with their scream,
Round and around the sounds were cast,
Till echo seemed an answering blast;
And on the Hunter hied his way,
To join some comrades of the day;
Yet often paused, so strange the road,
So wondrous were the scenes it showed.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
LAY OF THE IMPRISONED HUNTSMAN.
My hawk is tired of perch and hood,
My idle greyhound loathes his food,
My horse is weary of his stall,
And I am sick of captive thrall.
I wish I were as I have been,
Hunting the hart in forest green,
With bended bow and bloodhound free,
For that's the life is meet for me.
I hate to learn the ebb of time
From yon dull steeple's drowsy chime,
Or mark it as the sunbeams crawl,
Inch after inch, along the wall.
The lark was wont my matins ring,
The sable rook my vespers sing;
These towers, although a king's they be,
Have not a hall of joy for me.
Only in sleep shall I behold that dark eye, | Thus, thus, I leap upon thy back, and scour the glancing bright; distant plains;
Only in sleep shall hear again that step so firm Away! who overtakes us now shall claim thee for and light; his pains!
CAROLINE E. NORTON.
And when I raise my dreaming arm to check or
cheer thy speed,
Then must I, starting, wake to feel, - thou 'rt sold, my Arab steed!
JINGLE, jingle, clear the way,
'Tis the merry, merry sleigh,
As it swiftly scuds along
Hear the burst of happy song,
See the gleam of glances bright,
Flashing o'er the pathway white.
Jingle, jingle, past it flies,
Sending shafts from hooded eyes,
Roguish archers, I'll be bound,
Little heeding who they wound;
See them, with capricious pranks,
Ploughing now the drifted banks;
Jingle, jingle, mid the glee
Who among them cares for me?
Jingle, jingle, on they go,
Capes and bonnets white with snow,
Not a single robe they fold
To protect them from the cold;
Jingle, jingle, mid the storm,
Fun and frolic keep them warm ;
Jingle, jingle, down the hills,
O'er the meadows, past the mills,
Now 't is slow, and now 't is fast;
Winter will not always last.
Jingle, jingle, clear the way,
'Tis the merry, merry sleigh.
They tempted me, my beautiful!
power is strong,
They tempted me, my beautiful! but I have
loved too long.
Who said that I had given thee up? who said Men stop and smile to see her go; that thou wast sold? They gaze, they smile in pleased surprise; 'Tis false, 't is false, my Arab steed! I fling They ask her name; they long to show them back their gold!
Some silent friendship in their eyes.
The quick breath parts her laughing lips,
The white neck shines through tossing curls;
Her vesture gently sways and dips,
As on she speeds in shell-like whorls.