« ПредишнаНапред »
P R E F A CE.
HE old and infirm have at least this privilege,
that they can recal to their minds those scenes of joy in which they once delighted, and ruminate over their past pleasures, with a satisfaction almost equal to the first enjoyment. For those ideas, to which any agreeable sensation is annexed, are easily excited; as leaving behind the most 'strong and permanent impresfions. The amusements of our youth are the boast and comfort of our declining years. The ancients carried this noticn even yet further, and supposed their heroes in the Elysian Fields were fond of the very fame diversions they exercised on earth. Death itself could not wean them from the accustomed sports and gayeties of life.
“ Pars in gramineis exercent membra palæstris ; “ Contendunt ludo, et fulvâ luctantur arenâ : “ Pars pedibus plaudunt choreas, et carmina dicunt. “ Arma procul, currûsque virûm miratur inanes. “ Stant terrâ defixæ haftæ, paffimque foluti " Per campum pafcuntur equi. Quæ gratia currûin “ Armorumque fuit vivis, quæ cura nitentes “ Pafcere equos, eadem fequitur tellure repostos.”
VIRG. Æneid. vi. Part on the grassy cirque their pliant limbs In wrestling exercise, or on the sands Struggling dispute the prize. Part lead the ring, Or swell the chorus with alternate lays.. B 2
The chief their arms admires, their empty cars,
Still haunt their shades, and after death survive.
part of mankind) if at my leisure hours, I run over, in my elbow-chair, some of those chaces, which were once the delight of a more vigorous age. It is an entertaining, and (as I conceive) a very innocent amusement. The result of these rambling imaginations will be found in the following poem ; which if equally diverting to my readers, as to myself, I shall have gained my end. I have intermixed the preceptive parts with so many descriptions and digreffions in the Georgick manner, that I hope they will not be tedious. I am sure they are very necessary to be well understood by any gentleman, who would enjoy this noble sport in full perfection. In this at least I may comfort myself, that I cannot trespass upon their patience more than Markham, Blome, and the other prose writers
upon this subject. It is most certain, that hunting was the exercise of the greatest heroes in antiquity. By this they formed themselves for war; and their exploits against wild Leasts were a prelude to their other victories. Xenophon says, that almost all the ancient heroes, Nestor, Theseus, Castor, Pollux, Ulysses, Diomedes, Achilles, &c. were madrlai xurnybosūv, disciples of hunting ; being taught carefully that art, as what would be highly
serviceable to them in military discipline. Xen. Cynegetic. And Pliny observes, those who were designed for great captains, were first taught “ certare cum fu“ gacibus feris cursu, cum audacibus robore, cum cal. 66 lidis astu:” to contest with the swifteit wild beasts, in speed; with the boldest, in strength ; with the most cunning, in craft and fubtilty. Plin. Panegyr. And the Roman emperors, in those monuments they erected to transmit their actions to future ages, made no seruple to join the glories of the chace to their most celebrated triumphs. Neither were their poets wanting to do juftice to this heroick exercise. “Beside that of Oppian in Greek, we have several poems in Latin upon hunting, Gratius was contemporary with Ovid; as appears by this verse; “ Aptaque venanti Gratius arma dabit.”
Lib. iv. Pont. Gratius Thall arm the huntsman for the chace. But of his works only fome fragments remain. There are many others of more modern date. Amongst these Nemesianus, who seems very much superior to Gratius, though of a more degenerate age.
But only a fragment of his first book is preserved. We might indeed have expected to have seen it treated more at large by Virgil in his third Georgick, since it is expressly part of his subject. But he has favoured us only with ten verses; and what he says of dogs, relates wholly to greyhounds and mastiffs. • Veloces Spartæ catulos, acremque Molossum.”
Georg. iii. The greyhound swift, and mastiff's furious breed.
And he directs us to feed them with butter-milk.
Whenever the ancients mention dogs followed by the
6. Odorato nofcunt veftigia prato,
And trail the hare unto her secret form.