« EdellinenJatka »
Or see, transfix'd with keener pangs,
Where o'er his hoard the miser hangs;
Whistles the wind; he starts, he stares,
Nor Slumber's balmy blessing shares
Despair, Remorse, and Terror roll
Their tempests on his harrass'd soul.
But here perhaps it may avail
T'enforce our reasoning with a tale.
Mild was the morn, the sky serene,
The jolly hunting band convene,
The beagle's breast with ardour burns,
The bounding steed the champaign spurns,
And Fancy oft the game descries
Through the hound's nose, and huntsman's eyes.
Just then, a council of the hares
Had met, on national affairs.
The chiefs were set ; while o'er their head
The furze its frizzled covering spread.
Long lists of grievances were heard,
And general discontent appear'd.
« Our harmless race shall every savage
« Both quadruped and biped Favage ?
“ Shall horses, hounds, and hunters still
5. Unite their wits to work us ill ?
“ The youth, his parent's sole delight,
“ Whose tooth the dewy lawns invite,
“ Whose pulse in every vein beats strong,
6 Whose limbs leap light the vales along,
“ May yet ere noontide meet his death,
« And lie dismember'd on the heath.
6 For youth, alas, nor cautious age,
“ Nor strength, nor speed, eludes their rage,
“ In every field we meet the foe,
Each gale comes fraught with sounds of woe; • The morning but awakes our fears, 6. The evening sees us bathed in tears. " But must we ever idly grieve, - Nor strive our fortunes to relieve! « Small is each individual's force: * To stratagem be our recourse ; $6 And then, from all our tribes combined, 66 The murderer to his cost may find # No foes are weak, whom Justice arms, # Whom Concord leads, and Hatred warms.
« Be roused; or liberty acquire,
" Or in the great attempt expire.”
He said no more, for in his breast
Conflicting thoughts the voice suppress'd ;
The fire of vengeance seem'd to stream
From his swoln eyeball's yellow gleam.
And now the tumults of the war,
Mingling confusedly from afar,
Swell in the wind. Now louder cries
Distinct of hounds and men arise.
Forth from the brake, with beating heart,
Th' assembled hares tumultous start,
And, every straining nerve on wing,
Away precipitately spring,
The hunting band, a signal given,
Thick thundering o'er the plain are driven;
O'er cliff abrupt, and shrubby mound,
And river broad, impetuous bound;
Now plunge amid the forest shades,
Glance through the openings of the glades;
Now o'er the level valley sweep,
Now with short steps strain up the steep;,
While backward from the hunter's eyes
The landscape like a torrent flies.
At last an ancient wood they gain’d,
By pruner's ax yet unprofaned.
High o'er the rest, by Nature rear'd,
The oak's majestick boughs appear’d;
Beneath, a copse of various hue
In barbarous luxuriance grew.
No knife had curb’d the rambling sprays,
No hand had wove th' implicit maze.
The flowering thorn, self-taught to wind,
The hazle's stubborn stem intwined,
And bramble twigs were wreath'd around,
And rough furze crept along the ground.
Here sheltering, from the sons of murther,
The hares drag their tired limbs no further.
But lo, the western wind ere long
Was loud, and roar'd the woods among;
From rustling leaves, and crashing boughs,
The sound of woe and war arose.
The hares distracted scour the grove,
As terror and amazement drovę;
But danger, wheresoe'er they fled,
Still seem'd impending o'er their head,
Now crouded in a grotto's gloom,
All hope extinct, they wait their doom.
Dire was the silence, till, at length,
Even from despair deriving strength,
With bloody eye, and furious look,
A daring youth arose, and spoke.
“ O wretched race, the scorn of Fate, “ Whom ills of every sort await! «0, cursed with keenest sense to feel « The sharpest sting of every ill! “ Say ye, who fraught with mighty scheme, « Of liberty and vengeance dream, 6 What now remains ? To what recess « Shall we our weary steps address, 6 Since fate is evermore pursuing “ All ways, and means to work our ruin? # Are we alone, of all beneath, *** Condemn’d to misery worse than death! “ Must we, with fruitless labour, strive « In misery worse than death to live!