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ground ; and which, judging of and became enthusiastically fond my fellow-sportsmen by myself, of field sports. He kept three cannot, I think, fail to interest or four terriers, and with them them should you give it a place hunted hare and fox, baited the
your interesting miscellany. badger, and, in the summer,
Remember, I don't profess to “ O'er the dark rushy marsh give you the Life of William The sly goose-tooted prowler sought." Somervile, Esq. with notes and
From the time of his quitting annotations, and God knows what, College till his death, he resided interlarded, like a fashionable bio- with his sister at Edstone. Here graphy, with copious accounts of he found that leisure and recreaevery trifling affair of life......his
tion so congenial to his feelings; hour of rising, the quantity he and he now began to be a sportsate, whether he shaved every
man in earnest. Retired from day or only once a week, &c. &c. the world, and independent of its No! it will be a rapid sketch, caprice, blessed with an affecrudely written by a rude sports- tionate sister, and surrounded by man, 'fit only for a sportsman's the scenes of Nature, his only library; and as such (if you
cares those of a sportsman, his think the preamble long enough)
the weather, I can I commend it to my brethren.
easily imagine Somervile to have William Somervile drew the
been a happy poetma character first breath of life in the Manor
too seldom met with ; for, take House of Edstone in the county the lives of Poets and Philoof Warwick, 1692, and gave up sophers on an average, it will be his last within its venerable walls, found that nine out of ten live in July the 19th, 1748. In this fine
misery, and die beggars. old mansion his ancestors had resided for centuries, universally to be unhappy? Why are thy
Ah! Genius, why art thou born esteemed and respected. His father died young, leaving him and eagle wings clipped, and thy imaa sister to the tender care of their gination arrested in its flight to
Heaven by the base and grovelsorrowing mother, a woman of
ling calculations of this calculathe highest attainments.
ting world? Why must thou reaching his tenth was sent to a school at Stratford- pine in solitude, and waste thy on-Avon, and here, in the birth- youth and health over a farthing place of the divinest Genius that Impudence flaunt in broad day
rushlight, when Ignorance and ever honored a country, were
light? nurtured those seeds of Poesy
“ But 'twas ever thus," and which afterwards bloomed so
will be to the end of the chapter. finely in The Chasc. From Strat
Let us, therefore, be thankful our ford he went to that excellent
own Poet, our varmint Somervile, classical Academy, Winchester ; escaped those evils to which so where, at the age of eighteen, he obtained a Scholarship, which, and proceed with the memoir.
many of the fraternity are exposed, with the help of his talents, ulti
Here then did he commence mately obtained for him a Fellow- hunting like a gentleman, and ship at New College, Oxford.
" A different hound for every different During his vacations he resided principally with his mother, Selected with judgment."
year, our Bard
The site of his kennel, as will
It is said that Somervile's inbe seen, was well chosen,
come was 1500l. per annum, but “ On a little eminence erect,” half that sum will be found nearer facing the south-east, with a grove
the mark; he had a comfortable of willow, poplar, and elm at the sufficiency, a liberal one for a pruback, to shield it from the north dent man...... but when was Geand west winds. The kennel nius ever provident? Poor Sowas spacious, with a fine brook mervile certainly was not; and babbling through. He kept about his inattention to pecuniary mattwelve couple of beagles, bred ters, combined with his great chiefly between the small Cots- liberality, unfortunately plunged wold harrier and the Southern him into difficulties (though not hound; six couple of fox-hounds, poverty), and prompted him to rather rough, and wire-haired; and take refuge in a temporary Lethe; five couple of otter-hounds, which and that bright imagination and in the winter season made an ad- cheerful mind became obscured dition to the fox-hounds. The
and overcome by the indulgence country he hunted was chiefly drink was toddy—a mixture of
of a sensual vice. His favorite woodland, except that where his beagles were generally thrown
rum and black currant jelly, with off, and every parish, being unin
a very sparing dash of water-an closed, yielded excellent sport. excellent and healing beverage To the feeding of his hounds, and the management and
taken moderately, but in Somerment of his kennel, he attended vile's case an insinuating poison.
His himself---(it would be well for poor
huntsman used free masters of hounds to follow his quently to observe to Mr. Webb, example in this particular)--and with much naïveté, “ What a pity was assisted by one Hoitt, a boy
Master should be so overcome....... about twelve
but he was every day hunting of
years he had taken into his service,
and being hunted." and who afterwards attained the
As a Gentleman and a compasupreme honour of being hunts- nion, Somervile was perfect ; as a man, and lived with him to his Magistrate, skilful, upright, and death, He conducted the chase useful ; and as a Sportsman, I can himself, leaving a man in the only say, all who wish to become kennel to prepare the food, who really such may (with the excepwas in the capacity of earth- tion of the toddy) form themstopper. His stud was small,
selves on his model. four nags being the greatest num- A Sportsman's skill whoever means to ber he ever had in the stable
claim, employing his favorite, Old Bau. Must read his book, and then he'll know three times in the week. Old Ball was a real good English
He followed hounds to the day hunter, standing about fifteen
of his death, and in the very last hands high, with black legs, year had a dinner given him by short back, high in the shoulders, two hundred gentlemen in honor large barrel, thin head, cropped of the chivalrous deeds he had ears, and a white blaze down the performed in the field. At this face.
meeting he offered to bet fifty
pounds he would kill his hares, In Somervile's Chase we have and pick them up too, before any pure nature and vivid descripof the young bloods present could tion. If the divine breathings of accomplish it (provided they a Shakspeare, the magnificence would let him hunt the hounds), of a Byron, or the melody of a which was of course assented to, Moore be wanting, we have that and the veteran, to the discomfi- which will never cloy, and to ture of many, won the fifty. which we may often turn with
It must ever be a subject of re- pleasure from the contemplation gret
that so fine a character should of more dazzling beauties. He so soon have been taken away; for was a practical sportsman, and Somervile, though broken in con- wrote from his own personal stitution, was far from being an knowledge, which is not always old man when he died.
the case with those who r make “ Alas! too soon,
books.” After so short a time of breath,
Many a heart-rending tale of To house with darkness and with death!”
moving accidents by flood and Somervile's memory has been field has been given to the world honored by an elegant Latin epi- by a man who never migrated taph from the classic pen of Dr. five miles beyond the precincts Parr, which is too well known to of Cockaigne, full many a perirequire recapitulation here. It lous voyage on the boisterous is one of the finest compositions ocean, shipwreck on
a desert that ever emanated from that island, &c. been patched up, and able scholar, or indeed any other, drawn tears of pity from lovely and is of itself sufficient to immor- eyes, for a writer, whose most talise the name. Hoitt, the hunts. dangerous excursion has been a man, had a similar honour paid two-hours' trip in a sailing-boat him by a poet of distinction, as a at Brighton. Somervile was none memento of his useful though of these: he had seen, and joined humble virtues.
in, what he so well pourtrays, and The life of Somervile glided his Poem bears the stamp of real on like a peaceful stream ; he en- ore, so difficult to be imitated by joyed a larger share of happiness the ignorant. He is indeed the than generally falls to the lot of Sportsman's own Poet; and I mortals: no evil passions dis- cannot do better than conclude turbed his repose; he envied no his memoir in the words of a man, injured none; and but for Poet:the indulgence of the foible I
• Veteran of Sport ! whilst we are free, have mentioned (and which in
Thou canst not pass away ; that day was no discredit to a Thy spirit still amidst our glee, sportsman), his existence would Shall light the sportsman's day :
Within our hearts its pride shall be have been irreproachable. But
Impervious to decay. 6. there is none perfect, no not
“ Father of heroes ! fare thee well; one;" and I therefore think we
The sculpture on thy tomb may venture to appropriate to Shall fade away’neath Time's cold spell-our departed brother those exqui. But those we cherish none shall tell
Decay's unsparing doom ; site lines of Metastasio
Have ever ceased to bloom." “ Ardito spiri, chi puol senza rossore,
GILBERT FORESTER. Ramentar come visse, allor ché more.” Dec. 24, 1831. VOL. IV.SECOND SERIES.-No. 22.
TWO LAST DAYS OF THE LAST BLACK GAME SEASON,
SIR, I Have perceived latterly that play, comparatively speaking, to
you are not unwilling to allow the work which I shall without the minor affairs of the gun a much further circumlocution enshare in your Miscellany, and deavour to narrate. am, therefore, induced to submit During a residence of some to you a
plain and unvarnish- years in this part of Scotland for ed” description of two days sport the express purpose of shooting which I experienced on Friday (I have formerly, Sir, seen most and Saturday last, being the con- hounds worthy of note in Engclusion of the season for grouse land), I had been frequently soand black game shooting; and licited by the head keeper over which, from its peculiarity and one of the finest shooting tracts novelty to me, who have handled of ground in the world to accomarms for two and twenty years pany him, or, in plainer terms, to successively—and I believe I may lend a hand in helping to kill a say, under submission, success- box or two of black game at the fully I cannot help thinking end of the season, which I had as may prove of some interest to often declined, having been preyour readers. There is no doubt judiced against it as " dull work," that grouse,
laborious to an extreme, and only shooting, is sufficiently well fit for poachers or keepers, who known, especially to our prime could not help it. Being, howdons (and even the prima donnas ever, again pressed this year, and who accompany them), who come being assured by the keeper, who down here in August to “ cry knew I was an indefatigable duck havoc and let loose the dogs of shooter on my own less favorwar” against the Poults, and then ed ground, that, excepting red publish their bulletins exulting deer, he knew nothing like it in the number of the slain : but for difficulty and excitement, I acthe sport I have to describe, and cepted his offer ; and I assure which I shall do as well as my you, Sir, I am only sorry it does faculties will permit me, "with- not fall to the lot of an abler
pen out any extenuation” or attempt to depict what I shall attempt to at fiction, is as different from what describe. As it is impossible, exthe aborigines here call “ poot- cept by the merest accident, to ing”-i.e. massacreing young birds get near these birds without the in fine weather-as I should con- utmost precaution, a strict attenceive a splitter with the North tion to the directions or signals of Devon stag-hounds must be to a the person who knows the ground, winter day's puddling with bea- their haunts and habits; availing gles. I do not mean to decry ANY yourself of the most minute adsport-success to them one and all! vantages to keep out of sight, no -much less do I mean to in- matter at what distance; spesinuate that grouse shooting in cially remembering that a chance August is not excellent pastime. thrown away is irredeemable Thank Heaven! it is: but it and as a friend of mine, who had might be almost termed child's not duly digested the instructions
given him by the same leader I four lay through the moor, upon was now to serve under (a most a mere cart track, the best part respectable individual), had, as of it close by a brawling mounthe Yankees say, been pretty con
with precipitous siderably d-d well blown up by banks, and where (excepting fishhim-it was not (veteran as I ing the stream once) I had never am) without somewhat more than been. After passing a bridge ordinary feeling that I prepared which crossed this tributary on to meet the abovementioned per- its course to the greater waters, sonage, at a very extensive moor, I was aware that a kind of lane, about nine miles from my dwell- or loan as they term it here, ing, before day-break on Friday turned off to the moor, leading last. Exciting and pleasing as it for about a quarter of a mile was, nevertheless it was, as almost through some rough inclosures, all feelings must be to a man of but it positively was so dark, that my standing, tinctured with some- it was not without dismounting what of melancholy; for it recalled and feeling my way that I made mind's
eye those sanguine good this outlet. My progress and sunshiny days,
was now necessarily reduced to
a foot-pace, trusting entirely to 66 When love and life alike were young;”
the honour of my naga stout when I could not go to bed until Highland cob, but who was quite I had all the paraphernalia for au fait in such circumstances, the next morning's meet at covert having been in his earlier days carefully arranged by my own employed in the laudable office hands; and, when rest was out of of saving many a goodly cask of the question, listening to every - mountain dew” from the ingust that blew, in terror of a bad quisitorial rod of the Exciseman ; day. However, to rest I did go, and I proceeded wearily enough after a few vain sighs and remi- along the banks of the roaring niscences, the transitory but af- torrent until my prad stopped fecting tribute we involuntarily short, and I found he was brought pay to past pleasures, and was up, as Jack Tar says, by what I awakened out of a sound sleep imagined was a gate, but which, at three o'clock.
upon dismounting, I found to be Having put everything, even a flight of rails at the end of a to a pot of coffee simmering on high stone dyke or wall, and so the hob, in its own place before marvellously fastened that all my I retired to rest, it was not long endeavors to let them down before I tasted the morning air, proved fruitless. and had the happiness to find I had now nothing for it but that it rained, gently but inces- to remain where I was until day santly. However, having my dawned, under a most unrefreshgun slung in an oil-skin, and my- ing shower, and was fervently self well put up, I mounted my blessing" all black-faced sheepand hack, in the hope that morn- the Highland contraptions requiing's dawn might dissipate the site to restrain them, when the waters; and as the first six miles barking of a dog and an almost siwere upon a turnpike, I made multaneous whistlestruck myglad. steady play along it, as the last dened ear. This last « sound of