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calls ixveurmees, finds out the game. For he follows the scent no further than the hare's form; from whence, after he has started her, he pursues her by sight. I am indebted for these two last remarks to a reverend and very learned gentleman, whose judgment in the belles lettres nobody disputes, and whose approbation gave me the assurance to publish this poem.
Oppian also observes, that the best fort of these finders were brought from Britain; this island having always been famous (as it is at this day) for the best breed of hounds, for persons the best skilled in the art of hunting, and for horses the most enduring to follow the chace. It is therefore strange that none of our poets have yet thought it worth their while to treat of this subject; which is without doubt very noble in itself, and
very well adapted to receive the most beautiful turns of poetry. Perhaps our poets have no great genius for hunting. Yet I hope, my brethren of the couples, by encouraging this first, but imperfect, essay, will shew the world they have at least some taste
The ancients esteemed hunting, not only as a manly and warlike exercise, but as highly conducive to health. The famous Galen recommends it above all others, as not only exercising the body, but giving delight and entertainment to the mind. And he calls the inventors of this art wise men, and well-skilled in human nature. Lib. de parvæ pilæ exercitio.
The gentlemen, who are fond of a gingle at the close of every verse, and think no poem truly musical but B4 4
what is in rhyme, will here find themselves disappointed. If they be pleased to read over the short preface before the Paradise Lost, Mr. Smith's poem in memory of his friend Mr. John Philips, and the Archbishop of Cambray's letter to Monsieur Fontenelle, they may probably be of another opinion. For my own part, I shall not be ashamed to follow the example of Milton, Philips, Thomson, and all our best tragick writers.
Some few terms of art are dispersed here and there ; but such only as are absolutely requisite to explain my subject. I hope in this the criticks will excuse me; for I am humbly of opinion, that the affectation, and not the necessary use, is the proper object of their censure.
But I have done. I know the impatience of my brethren, when a fine day, and the concert of the kennel, invite them abroad. I shall therefore leave my reader to fach diversion as he may find in the poem itself.
“ En age, segnes, Rumpe moras; vocat ingenti clamore Citharon, “ Taygetique canes, domitrixque Epidaurus equorums « Et vox afsensu nemorum ingeminata remugit.”
Virg. Georg. iii.
Cast far behind the lingering cares of life.
WILLIAM SOMERVILE, Efq;
ON HIS POEM CALLED
Τ Η Ε
CH A CE.
HILE you, Sir, gain the steep ascent to fame,
And honours due to deathless merit claim; To a weak Muse a kind indulgence lend, Fond with just praise your labours to commend, And tell the world that Somervile's her friend. Her incense guiltless of the forms of art Breathes all the huntsman's honesty of heart; Whose fancy fill the pleasing scene retains Of Edric's villa and Ardenna's plains : Joys, which from change superior charms receiv'd, The horn hoarse sounding by the lyre reliev'd : When the day crown'd with rural chaste delight, Refigns obsequious to the festive night; The festive night awakes th' harmonious lay, And in sweet verse recounts the triumphs of the day.
Strange! that the British Muse should leave so long, The Chace, the sport of Britain's kings, unsung! Distinguish'd land! by Heaven indulg’d to breed The stout, sagacious hound, and generous steed; In vain! while yet no bard adorn'd our ille, To celebrate the glorious sylvan toil.
For this what darling son shall feel thy fire,
ONCE more, my friend, I touch the trembling lyre,
And in my feel poetic