+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

brutesmere animals, deaf to the music, blind
to the living poetry of nature. To such men
hunting is a piece of fashion or vulgar excitement.
But bring hunting in comparison with
other amusements, and it will stand a severe
test. Are you an admirer of scenery, an
amateur or artist? have you traversed Greece
and Italy, Switzerland and Norway, in search
of the picturesque? You do not know the
beauties of your own country, until, having
hunted from Northumberland to Cornwall,
you have viewed the various counties under
the three aspects of a fox-hunter's daythe
"morning ride," " the run," and " the return
home." The morning ride, slowly pacing,
full of expectation, your horse pleased as
yourself; sharp and clear in the gray
atmosphere; the leafless trees and white
farmhouses stand out; the gorgeous pheasant
feeds rapidly in the neighbouring fields; the
partridge cowers in the fallow, under clods of
its own colour; the mist hangs on the hills
in the horizon. With eager eyes you take all
in; nothing escapes you; you have cast off
care for the day. How pleasant and cheerful
everything and every one looks! Even the
cocks and hens, scratching by the road-side,
have a friendly air. The turnpike-man relaxes,
in favour of your " pink," his usual grimness.
A tramping woman, with one child at her
back and two running beside her, asks cha-
rity; you suspect she is an impostor, but she
looks cold and pitiful; you give her a shilling,
and the next day feel glad you did so. To your
mind the well-cultivated land looks beautiful.
In the monotony of ten acres of turnips, you
see a hundred pictures of English farming
lifewell-fed cattle, good wheat crops, and a
little barley for beer. And not less beautiful
is the wild gorse-covered moor: never to be
reclaimed, I hope: when the wiry, white-
headed, bright-eyed huntsman sits motionless
on his old white horse, surrounded by the
pied packa study for Landseer.

But, if the morning ride create unexecuted
cabinet pictures and unwritten sonnets, the
"find" run, the following along the brook-
intersected vale, up the steep hill, through
woodlands, parks, and villages, shewing you
in bye-ways little gothic churches, ivy-covered
cottages, and nooks of beauty you never
dreamed of, alive with startled cattle and
hilarious rustics, how delightful it is! And, talk
of epic poems, read in bowers or at firesides,
what poet's description of a battle could make
the blood boil in delicious excitement, like a
seat on a long-striding hunter, clearing every
obstacle with firm elastic bounds, holding in
sight without gaining a yard on the flying pack,
while the tip of Reynard's tail disappears over
the wall at the top of the hill. And, lastly,
tired, successful, hungry, happy, the return
home, when the shades of evening, closing
round, give a fantastic, curious, mysterious
aspect to familiar road-side objects! Loosely
lounging on your saddle, with half-closed eyes,
you almost dreamthe gnarled trees grow
into giants, cottages into castles, ponds
into lakes. The maid of the inn is a lovely
princess, and the bread and cheese she
brings (while, without dismounting, you let
your thirsty horse drink his gruel) tastes
more delicious than the finest pâté of
tortured goose's liver that ever tempted the
appetite of a humane, anti-fox-hunting, poet-
critic after a long night of opera, ballet, and

Are you fond of agriculture? You may
survey all the progress and ignorance of an
agricultural district in rides across country, and
you may sound the depth of the average
agricultural mind while trotting from cover to
cover. Are you of a social disposition? What
a fund of information is to be gathered from
the acquaintances made, returning home, after
a famous day, " thirty-five minutes without a
check." In a word, fox-hunting affords
exercise and healthy excitement, without
headaches or heartaches, without, late hours,
without the terrible next mornings that follow so
many town amusements. Fox-hunting draws
men from towns, promotes a love of country
life, fosters skill, courage, temper. A bad-
tempered man can never be a good

To the right-minded, as many feelings of
thankfulness and praise to the Giver of all
good will arise, sitting on a fiery horse,
subdued to courageous obedience for the use of
man, while surveying a pack of hounds ranging
an autumnal thicket with fierce intelligence,
or looking down on a late moorland, broken
up to fertility by man's skill and industry, as
in a solitary walk on the sea-shore, or on a
Highland hill.

Am I an enthusiast, you ask? Perhaps I
am. And what does the Fox think of it
do you ask? I don't know. I speak as a


WE bid thee welcome, little book,
With thy sweet tales and pleasant dreams
Tell us where learned the Poet these?
In the still company of trees,
And waterfalls and streams?

Not so. The city's heavy air
Made Poetry a drooping bird,
Whose voice, amid the stormy din,
Singing his very heart within,
At times he scarcely heard.

Whence did he catch the hues to paint
The evening sky, the cloud's soft fold?
Sure, o'er the pages touched so well,
Some moonlight's trembling silver fell,
Some sunset sprinkled gold.

He painted but the dear lost skies,
'Neath which in childhood lie had play'd;
And Love and Memory o'er them threw
A glory Nature never knew,
Without their holier aid.