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WILLIAM SOMERVILE, an agreeable poet, was mind, and plunged him into habits which shortened born in 1692, at his father's seat at Edston, in War- his life. He died in 1742; and his friend Shenwickshire. He was educated at Winchester school, stone, with much feeling, announces the event to whence he was elected to New College, Oxford. one of his correspondents. Somervile passed his Ilis political attachments were to the Whig party, life in celibacy, and made over the reversion of his as appeared from his praises of Marlborough, Stan- estate to Lord Somervile, a branch of the same hope, and Addison. To the latter of these he ad- family, charged with a jointure to his mother, then dressed a poem, in which there is the happy couplet in her 90th year. alluded to in the Spectator:

"When panting Virtue her last efforts made, "You brought your Clio to the Virgin's aid." "Clio" was known to be the mark by which Addison distinguished his papers in that miscellany.

As a poet, he is chiefly known by "The Chase," a piece in blank verse, which maintains a high rank in the didactic and descriptive classes. Being composed by one who was perfectly conversant with the sports which are its subject, and entered into them with enthusiasm, his pictures greatly surpass Somervile inherited a considerable paternal es- the draughts of the same kind which are attempted tate, on which he principally lived, acting as a by poets by profession. Another piece compected magistrate, and pursuing with ardor the amusements with this is entitled "Field Sports," but only deof a sportsman, varied with the studies of a man scribes that of hawking. In his "Hobbinol, or of letters. His mode of living, which was hospi-Rural Games," he attempts the burlesque with toltable, and addicted to conviviality, threw him into erable success. Of his other pieces, serious and pecuniary embarrassments, which preyed on his comic, there are few which add to his fame.


Book I.


THE Chase I sing, hounds, and their various breed, And no less various use. O thou, great prince! Whom Cambria's towering hills proclaim their lord, Deign thou to hear my bold, instructive song. While grateful citizens with pompous show, The subject proposed. Address to his royal high- Rear the triumphal arch, rich with th' exploits ness the prince. The origin of hunting. The Of thy illustrious house; while virgins pave rude and unpolished manner of the first hunters. Thy way with flowers, and, as the royal youth Beasts at first hunted for food and sacrifice. The Passing they view, admire and sigh in vain; grant made by God to man of the beasts, &c. While crowded theatres, too fondly proud The regular manner of hunting first brought Of their exotic minstrels, and shrill pipes, into this island by the Normans. The best hounds The price of manhood, hail thee with a song, and best horses bred here. The advantage of And airs soft-warbling; my hoarse-sounding horn this exercise to us, as islanders. Address to gen- Invites thee to the Chase, the sport of kings; tlemen of estates. Situation of the kennel and Image of war, without its guilt. The Muse its several courts. The diversion and employ- Aloft on wing shall soar, conduct with care ment of hounds in the kennel. The different Thy foaming courser o'er the steepy rock, sorts of hounds for each different chase. De- Or on the river bank receive thee safe, scription of a perfect hound. Of sizing and sort- Light-bounding o'er the wave, from shore to shore. ing of hounds; the middle-sized hound recom- Be thou our great protector, gracious youth! mended. Of the large deep-mouthed hound for And if, in future times, some envious prince, hunting the stag and otter. Of the lime-hound; Careless of right, and guileful, should invade their use on the borders of England and Scotland. Thy Britain's commerce, or should strive in vain A physical account of scents. Of good and bad To wrest the balance from thy equal hand; scenting days. A short admonition to my breth- Thy hunter-train, in cheerful green array'd, ren of the couples. (A band undaunted, and inur'd to toils)

Shall compass thee around, die at thy feet,
Or hew thy passage through th' embattled foe,
And clear thy way to fame: inspir'd by thee,
The nobler chase of glory shall pursue
Through fire, and smoke, and blood, and fields of Load the dull air, and hover round our coasts:


The huntsman, ever gay, robust, and bold,
Defies the noxious vapor, and confides
In this delightful exercise, to raise

Nature, in her productions slow, aspires
By just degrees to reach perfection's height:
So mimic Art works leisurely, till time
Improve the piece, or wise Experience give
The proper finishing. When Nimrod bold,
That mighty hunter, first made war on beasts,
And stain'd the woodland-green with purple dye,
New, and unpolish'd was the huntsman's art;
No stated rule, his wanton will his guide.
With clubs and stones, rude implements of war,
He arm'd his savage bands, a multitude
Untrain'd; of twining osiers form'd, they pitch
Their artless toils, then range the desert hills,
And scour the plains below; the trembling herd
Start at th' unusual sound, and clamorous shout
Unheard before; surpris'd, alas! to find
Man now their foe, whom erst they deem'd their lord,
But mild and gentle, and by whom as yet
Secure they graz'd. Death stretches o'er the plain
Wide-wasting, and grim slaughter red with blood:
Urg'd on by hunger keen, they wound, they kill,
Their rage licentious knows no bound; at last,
Encumber'd with their spoils, joyful they bear
Upon their shoulders broad the bleeding prey.
Part on their altars smoke a sacrifice
To that all-gracious Power, whose bounteous
Supports his wide creation; what remains
On living coals they broil, inelegant
Of taste, nor skill'd as yet in nicer arts
Of pamper'd luxury. Devotion pure,
And strong necessity, thus first began
The chase of beasts: though bloody was the deed,
Yet without guilt. For the green herb alone
Unequal to sustain man's laboring race,
Now every moving thing that liv'd on Earth
Was granted him for food. So just is Heaven,
To give us in proportion to our wants.

His drooping herd, and cheer his heart with joy.
Ye vigorous youths, by smiling Fortune blest
With large demesnes, hereditary wealth,
Heap'd copious by your wise forefathers' care,
Hear and attend! while I the means reveal
T enjoy those pleasures, for the weak too strong,
Too costly for the poor: To rein the steed
Swift stretching o'er the plain, to cheer the pack
Opening in concerts of harmonious joy,
But breathing death. What though the gripe severe
Of brazen-fisted Time, and slow disease
Creeping through every vein, and nerve unstrung,
Afflict my shatter'd frame, undaunted still,
Of angry Jove; though blasted, yet unfallen;
Fix'd as a mountain ash, that braves the bolts
Deeds glorious once, recall the joyous scene
Still can my soul in Fancy's mirror view
In all its splendors deck'd, o'er the full bowl
Recount my triumphs past, urge others on
With hand and voice, and point the winding way:
Pleas'd with that social sweet garrulity,
The poor disbanded veteran's sole delight.

handUpon some little eminence erect,
First let the kennel be the huntsman's care,

And fronting to the ruddy dawn; its courts
On either hand wide opening to receive
The Sun's all-cheering beams, when mild he shines
And gilds the mountain tops. For much the pack
And bask in his invigorating ray :
(Rous'd from their dark alcoves) delight to stretch

Or chance or industry in after-time
Some few improvements made, but short as yet
Of due perfection. In this isle remote
Our painted ancestors were slow to learn,
To arms devote, of the politer arts

Warn'd by the streaming light and merry lark,
Forth rush the jolly clan; with tuneful throats
They carol loud, and in grand chorus join'd
Salute the new-born day. For not alone
The vegetable world, but men and brutes
Own his reviving influence, and joy
At his approach. Fountain of light! if chance
Some envious cloud veil thy refulgent brow,
In vain the Muses' aid; untouch'd, unstrung,
Lies my mute harp, and thy desponding bard

Nor skill'd nor studious; till from Neustria's coasts Sits darkly musing o'er th' unfinish'd lay.
Victorious William, to more decent rules
Subdu'd our Saxon fathers, taught to speak
The proper dialect, with horn and voice
To cheer the busy hound, whose well-known cry
His listening peers approve with joint acclaim.
From him successive huntsmen learn'd to join
In bloody social leagues, the multitude
Dispers'd; to size, to sort their various tribes;
To rear, feed, hunt, and discipline the pack.

Hail, happy Britain! highly favor'd isle,
And Heaven's peculiar care! To thee 'tis given
To train the sprightly steed, more fleet than those
Begot by winds, or the celestial breed

That bore the great Pelides through the press
Of heroes arm'd, and broke their crowded ranks;
Which, proudly neighing, with the Sun begins
Cheerful his course; and ere his beams decline,
Has measur'd half thy surface unfatigued.
In thee alone, fair land of liberty!

*Gen. chap. ix. ver. 3.



Is bred the perfect hound, in scent and speed
As yet unrivall'd, while in other climes
Their virtue fails, a weak degenerate race.
In vain malignant steams and winter fogs

Let no Corinthian pillars prop the dome,
A vain expense, on charitable deeds
Better dispos'd, to clothe the tatter'd wretch,
Who shrinks beneath the blast, to feed the poor
Pinch'd with afflictive want. For use, not state,
Gracefully plain, let each apartment rise.
O'er all let cleanliness preside, no scraps
Bestrew the pavement, and no half-pick'd bones
To kindle fierce debate, or to disgust
That nicer sense, on which the sportsman's hope,
And all his future triumphs, must depend.
Soon as the growling pack with eager joy
Have lapp'd their smoking viands, morn or eve,
From the full cistern lead the ductile streams,
To wash thy court well pav'd, nor spare thy pains,
For much to health will cleanliness avail.
Seek'st thou for hounds to climb the rocky steep,
And brush th' entangled covert, whose nice scent
O'er greasy fallows and frequented roads
Can pick the dubious way? Banish far off
Each noisome stench, let no offensive smell


Invade thy wide inclosure, but admit
The nitrous air and purifying breeze.

Water and shade no less demand thy care:
In a large square th' adjacent field inclose,
There plant in equal ranks the spreading elm,
Or fragrant lime; most happy thy design,
If at the bottom of thy spacious court,
A large canal, fed by the crystal brook,
From its transparent bosom shall reflect
Downward thy structure and inverted grove.
Here when the Sun's too potent gleams annoy
The crowded kennel and the drooping pack,
Restless, and faint, loll their unmoisten'd tongues,
And drop their feeble tails, to cooler shades
Lead forth the panting tribe; soon shalt thou find
The cordial breeze their fainting hearts revive:
Tumultuous soon they plunge into the stream,
There lave their reeking sides, with greedy joy
Gulp down the flying wave, this way and that
From shore to shore they swim, while clamor loud
And wild uproar torments the troubled flood:
Then on the sunny bank they roll and stretch
Their dripping limbs, or else in wanton rings
Coursing around, pursuing and pursued,
The merry multitude disporting play.

But here with watchful and observant eye, Attend their frolics, which too often end In bloody broils and death. High o'er thy head Wave thy resounding whip, and with a voice Fierce-menacing o'errule the stern debate, And quench their kindling rage; for oft in sport Begun, combat ensues, growling they snarl, Then on their haunches rear'd, rampant they seize Each other's throats, with teeth and claws in gore Besmear'd, they wound, they tear, till on the ground, Panting, half dead the conquer'd champion lies: Then sudden all the base ignoble crowd Loud-clamoring seize the helpless worried wretch, And, thirsting for his blood, drag different ways His mangled carcass on th' ensanguin'd plain. O beasts of pity void! t' oppress the weak, To point your vengeance at the friendless head, And with one mutual cry insult the fall'n! Emblem too just of man's degenerate race.

Others apart, by native instinct led,
Knowing instructor! 'mong the ranker grass
Cull each salubrious plant, with bitter juice
Concoctive stor'd, and potent to allay

Each vicious ferment. Thus the hand divine
Of Providence, beneficent and kind
To all his creatures, for the brutes prescribes
A ready remedy, and is himself
Their great physician. Now grown stiff with age,
And many a painful chase, the wise old hound,
Regardless of the frolic pack, attends
His master's side, or slumbers at his ease
Beneath the bending shade; there many a ring
Runs o'er in dreams; now on the doubtful foil
Puzzles perplex'd, or doubles intricate
Cautious unfolds, then, wing'd with all his speed,
Bounds o'er the lawn to seize his panting prey,
And in imperfect whimperings speaks his joy.

A different hound for every different chase
Select with judgment; nor the timorous hare
O'ermatch'd destroy, but leave that vile offence
To the mean, murderous, coursing crew; intent
On blood and spoil. O blast their hopes, just


And all their painful drudgeries repay With disappointment and severe remorse.

But husband thou thy pleasures, and give scope
To all her subtle play: by Nature led,

A thousand shifts she tries; t' unravel these
Th' industrious beagle twists his waving tail,
Through all her labyrinths pursues, and rings
Her doleful knell. See there with countenance


And with a courtly grin, the fawning hound
Salutes thee cowering, his wide-opening nose
Upward he curls, and his large sloe-black eyes
Melt in soft blandishments and humble joy;
His glossy skin, or yellow-pied, or blue,
In lights or shades by Nature's pencil drawn,
Reflects the various tints; his ears and legs
Fleckt here and there, in gay enamell'd pride,
Rival the speckled pard; his rush-grown tail
O'er his broad back bends in an ample arch;
On shoulders clean, upright and firm he stands;
His round cat foot, straight hams, and wide-spread

And his low-dropping chest, confess his speed,
His strength, his wind, or on the steepy hill,
Or far-extended plain; in every part
So well proportion'd, that the nicer skill
Of Phidias himself can't blame thy choice.
Of such compose thy pack. But here a mean
Observe, nor the large hound prefer, of size
Gigantic; he in the thick-woven covert
Painfully tugs, or in the thorny brake
Torn and embarrass'd bleeds: But if too small,
The pigmy brood in every furrow swims;
Moil'd in the clogging clay, panting they lag
Behind inglorious; or else shivering creep
Benumb'd and faint beneath the sheltering thorn
For hounds of middle size, active and strong,
Will better answer all thy various ends,
And crown thy pleasing labors with success.

As some brave captain, curious and exact,
By his fix'd standard forms in equal ranks
His gay battalion, as one man they move
Step after step, their size the same, their arms,
Far-gleaming, dart the same united blaze:
Reviewing generals his merit own;
How regular! how just! And all his cares
Are well repaid, if mighty George approve.
So model thou thy pack, if honor touch
Thy generous soul, and the world's just applause
But above all take heed, nor mix thy hounds
Of different kinds; discordant sounds shall grate
Thy ears offended, and a lagging line
Of babbling curs disgrace thy broken pack.
But if the amphibious otter be thy chase,
Or stately stag, that o'er the woodland reigns;
Or if the harmonious thunder of the field
Delight thy ravish'd ears; the deep-flew'd hound
Breed up with care, strong, heavy, slow, but sure;
Whose ears down-hanging from his thick round head
Shall sweep the morning dew, whose clanging voice
Awake the mountain Echo in her cell,
And shake the forests: The bold Talbot kind
Of these the prime; as white as Alpine snows;
And great their use of old. Upon the banks
Of Tweed, slow winding through the vale, the seat
Of war and rapine once, ere Britons knew
The sweets of peace, or Anna's dread commands
To lasting leagues the haughty rivals aw'd.
There dwelt a pilfering race; well train'd and skill'd
In all the mysteries of theft, the spoil
Their only substance, feuds and war their sport:
Not more expert in every fraudful art

The arch-felon* was of old, who by the tail
Drew back his lowing prize in vain his wiles,
In vain the shelter of the covering rock,
In vain the sooty cloud, and ruddy flames
That issued from his mouth; for soon he paid
His forfeit life: a debt how justly due
To wrong'd Alcides, and avenging Heaven!
Veil'd in the shades of night they ford the stream,
Then prowling far and near, whate'er they seize
Becomes their prey: nor flocks nor herds are safe,
Nor stalls protect the steer, nor strong-barr'd doors
Secure the favorite horse. Soon as the morn
Reveals his wrongs, with ghastly visage wan
The plunder'd owner stands, and from his lips
A thousand thronging curses burst their way:
He calls his stout allies, and in a line

His faithful hound he leads, then with a voice.
That utters loud his rage, attentive cheers:
Soon the sagacious brute, his curling tail
Flourish'd in air, low bending plies around
His busy nose, the steaming vapor snuffs
Inquisitive, nor leaves one turf untried,
Till, conscious of the recent stains, his heart
Beats quick; his snuffling nose, his active tail,
Attest his joy; then with deep opening mouth,
That makes the welkin tremble, he proclaims
Th' audacious felon; foot by foot he marks
His winding way, while all the listening crowd
Applaud his reasonings. O'er the watery ford,
Dry sandy heaths, and stony barren hills,
O'er beaten paths, with men and beasts distain'd,
Unerring he pursues; till at the cot
Arriv'd, and seizing by his guilty throat
The caitiff vile, redeems the captive prey:
So exquisitely delicate his sense!

Should some more curious sportsman here inquire Whence this sagacity, this wondrous power Of tracing, step by step, or man or brute? What guide invisible points out their way O'er the dank marsh, bleak hill, and sandy plain? The courteous Muse shall the dark cause reveal. The blood that from the heart incessant rolls In many a crimson tide, then here and there In smaller rills disparted, as it flows Propeil'd, the serous particles evade Through th' open pores, and with the ambient air Entangling mix. As fuming vapors rise, And hang upon the gently purling brook, There by th' incumbent atmosphere compress'd: The panting Chase grows warmer as he flies, And through the net-work of the skin perspires; Leaves a long-streaming trail behind, which by The cooler air condens'd, remains, unless By some rude storm dispers'd, or rarefied By the meridian Sun's intenser heat. To every shrub the warm effluvia cling, Hang on the grass, impregnate earth and skies. With nostrils opening wide, o'er hill, o'er dale The vigorous hounds pursue, with every breath Inhale the grateful steam, quick pleasures sting Their tingling nerves, while they their thanks repay, And in triumphant melody confess The titillating joy. Thus on the air Depend the hunter's hopes. When ruddy streaks At eve forebode a blustering stormy day, Or lowering clouds blacken the mountain's brow, When nipping frosts, and the keen biting blasts Of the dry parching east, menace the trees

Cacus, VIRG. En. lib. viii.

With tender blossoms teeming, kindly spare
Thy sleeping pack, in their warm beds of straw
Low-sinking at their ease; listless they shrink
Into some dark recess, nor hear thy voice
Though oft invok'd; or haply if thy call
Rouse up the slumbering tribe, with heavy eyes
Glaz'd, lifeless, dull, downward they drop their tails
Inverted; high on their bent backs erect
Their pointed bristles stare, or 'mong the tufts
Of ranker weeds, each stomach-healing plant
Curious they crop, sick, spiritless, forlorn.
These inauspicious days, on other cares
Employ thy precious hours; th' improving friend
With open arms embrace, and from his lips
Glean science, season'd with good-natur'd wit.
But if the inclement skies and angry Jove
Forbid the pleasing intercourse, thy books
Invite thy ready hand, each sacred page
Rich with the wise remarks of heroes old.
Converse familiar with th' illustrious dead;
With great examples of old Greece or Rome,
Enlarge thy free-born heart, and bless kind Heaven,
That Britain yet enjoys dear Liberty,
That balm of life, that sweetest blessing, cheap
Though purchas'd with our blood. Well-bred,

Credit thy calling. See! how mean, how low,
The bookless sauntering youth, proud of the skut
That dignifies his cap, his flourish'd belt,
And rusty couples gingling by his side.
Be thou of other mould; and know that such
Transporting pleasures were by Heaven ordain'd
Wisdom's relief, and Virtue's great reward.


Of the power of instinct in brutes. Two remarkable instances in the hunting of the roe-buck, and in the hare going to seat in the morning. Of the variety of seats or forms of the hare, according to the change of the season, weather, or wind. Description of the hare-hunting in all its parts, interspersed with rules to be observed by those who follow that chase. Transition to the Asiatic way of hunting, particularly the magnificent manner of the Great Mogul, and other Tartarian princes, taken from Monsieur Bernier, and the history of Gengiscan the Great. Concludes with a short reproof of tyrants and oppressors of mankind.

NOR will it less delight th' attentive sage T'observe that Instinct, which unerring guides The brutal race, which mimics reason's lore, [swift And oft transcends: Heaven-taught, the roe-buck Loiters at ease before the driving pack

And mocks their vain pursuit; nor far he flies,
But checks his ardor, till the steaming scent
That freshens on the blade provokes their rage.
Urg'd to their speed, his weak deluded foes
Soon flag fatigued; strain'd to excess each nerve,
Fach slacken'd sinew fails; they pant, they foam,
Then o'er the lawn he bounds, o'er the high hills
Stretches secure, and leaves the scatter'd crowd
To puzzle in the distant vale below.

"Tis Instinct that directs the jealous hare To choose her soft abode. With step revers'd

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