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laws a prey,
To savage beasts and savage
45 And kings more furious and severe than they , Who claim'd the skies, dispeopled air and floods, "The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods : Cities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves, (For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves,) 5.0 What could be free, when lawless beasts obey'd, And ev'n the elements a tyrant sway'd? In vain kind seasons swell & the teeming grain, Soft show'rs distilled, and suns grew warm in vain ! The swain with tears his frustrate labour yields, 55 And famish'd dies amidst his ripen'd fields, What wonder then, a beast or subject slain Were equal crimes in a despotic reign? Both doom'd alike, for sportive tyrants bledo But while the subject starv'd, the beast was fed. 60 Proud Nimrod krst the bloody chace began, A mighty hunter, and his prey was man: Our haughty Norman boasts that barb'rous name, And makes his trembling slaves the royal game. 64 The fields are ravish'd from th' industrious swains, From men their cities, and from Gods their fanes :
VER. 45. savese lazus] The Forest Lairs. See the account of them in Blackstone's excellent Lectures; the killing a deer, boar, or isare, was punished with the loss of the delinquent's eyes
Vex. 65. The fields are ravish’d, &c.] Alluding to the destruction made in the New Forest, and the tyrannies exercised there by William I., which, however, modern antiquaries bave discovered to be groundless.
The levell’d towns with weeds lie cover'd o'er ;
The Ver. 81. second hope) Richard, second son of William the Con. queror.
Ver. 83.] The moment Walter Tyrrel bad shot him, without speaking of the accident, he instantly hastened to the sea-shore and embarked for France, and from thence hurried to Jerusalem to do penance for his involuntary crime. The body of Rufus was found in the forest by a countryman, whose family are still said to be living near the spot, and was buried, without any pomp, before the altar of Winchester cathedral, where the monument still remains. The oak, under which Rufus was shot, was standing till withiu these few years.
The forest wonder'd at th' unusual grain,
91 Her cheerful head, and leads the golden years. Ye vig'rous swains ! while youth ferments your
blood, And purer spirits swell the sprightly flood, Now range the hills, the gameful woods beset, Wind the shrill horn, or spread the waving net. When milder autumn summer's heat succeeds, And in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds, Before his lord the ready spaniel bounds, Panting with hope, he tries the furrow'd grounds ; But when the tainted gales the game betray, Couch'd close he lies, and meditates the prey ; Secure they trust th' unfaithful field beset, 'Till hov'ring o'er 'em sweeps the swelling net. Thus (if small things we may with great compare) When Albion sends her eager sons to war,
106 Some thoughtless town, with ease and plenty blest, Near, and more near, the closing lines invest; Sudden they seize th' amaz'd, defenceless prize, And high in air Britannia's standard fies.
See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs, And mounts exulting on triumphant wings : Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound, Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground. Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes, 115 His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,
The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
134 In genial spring, beneath the quiv'ring shade, Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead, The patient fisher takes his silent stand, Intenţ, his angle trembling in his hand : With looks unmov'd, he hopes the scaly breed, And eyes the dancing cork, and bending reed. Our plenteous streams a various race supply, The bright-ey'd perch with fins of Tyrian dye, The silver eel, in shining volumes rollid, The yellow carp, in scales bedrop'd with gold,
Swift trouts, diversify'd with crimson stains, 145 And pikes, the tyrants of the wat’ry plains.
Now Cancer glows with Phæbus' fiery car : The youth rush eager to the sylvan war, Swarm o'er the lawns, the forest walks surround, Rouze the fleet hart, and cheer the opening hound. Th' impatient courser pants in ev'ry vein,
151 And pawing, seems to beat the distant plain : Hills, vales, and foods appear already cross'd, And ere he starts, a thousand steps are lost. 154 See the bold youth strain up the threat’ning steep, Rush through the thickets, down the valleys sweep, Hang o’er their coursers heads with eager speed, And earth rolls back beneath the flying steed. Let old Arcadia boast her ample plain, Th’immortal huntress, and her virgin-train ;
160 Nor envy, Windsor ! since thy shades have seen As bright a Goddess, and as chaste a Queen; Whose care, like hers, protects the sylvan reign, The earth's fair light, and Empress of the Main.
Here too; 'tis sung, of old Diana stray'd, 165
Above the rest a rural nymph was fam’d,
(Lodona's VER. 162.] Queen ANNE.