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And now he bounded up and down,
Now like a jelly shook ;
For bumps did ever look!
A sorry mare, that surely can
came Of pagan blood and bone ; For down upon her knees she went
To many a stock and stone !
Now seeing Huggins' nag adrift,
This farmer, shrewd and sage, Resolved, by changing horses here,
To hunt another stage !
Though felony, yet who would let
Another's horse alone,
By riding on his own?
And yet the conduct of the man
Seemed honest-like and fair ; For he seemed willing, horse and all,
To go before the mare!
So up on Huggins' horse he got,
And swiftly rode away, While Huggins mounted on the mare
Done brown upon a bay!
And off they set in double chase,
For such was fortune's whim, The farmer rode to hunt the stag,
And Huggins hunted him !
Alas! with one that rode so well
In vain it was to strive ; A dab was he, as dabs should be
All leaping and alive.
And here of Nature's kindly care
Behold a curious proof, As nags are meant to leap, she puts
A frog in every hoof!
Whereas the mare, although her share
She had of hoof and frog,
As stiff as any log ;
While Huggins in the stirrup stood
With neck like neck of crane,
The gate his hart had gane."
And, lo ! the dim and distant hunt
Diminished in a trice :
Seemed dwindling into mice;
And, far remote, each scarlet coat
Soon flitted like a sparkThough still the forest murmured back
An echo of the bark !
But sad at soul John Huggins turned:
No comfort could he find; While thus the “Hunting Chorus” sped,
To stay five bars behind.
For though by dint of spur he got
A leap in spite of fateHowbeit there was no toll at all
They could not clear the gate.
And like Fitzjames, he cursed the hunt,
And sorely cursed the day, And mused a New Gray's elegy
On his departed gray.
Now many a sign at Woodford town
Its Inn-vitation tells :
Betook him to the Wells.
Where Rounding tried to cheer him up
With many a merry laugh : But Huggins thought of neighbour Fig,
And called for half-and-half.
Yet, spite of drink, he could not blink
Remembrance of his loss;
Enough to drown a horse.
When thus forlorn, a merry horn
Struck up without the door-
The Epping Hunt was o'er !
And many a horse was taken out
Of saddle, and of shaft ;
The only “beasts of draught.”
For now begun a harder run
On wine, and gin, and beer; And overtaken men discussed
The overtaken deer.
How far he ran, and eke how fast,
And how at bay he stood, Deerlike, resolved to sell his life
As dearly as he could :
And how the hunters stood aloof,
Regardful of their lives, And shunned a beast, whose very horns
They knew could handle knives !
How Huggins stood when he was rubbed
By help and ostler kind, And when they cleaned the clay before,
How worse “remained behind.”
And one, how he had found a horse
Adrift-a goodly gray!
The nag should go astray;
Now Huggins, when he heard the tale,
Jumped up with sudden glee; “A goodly gray! why, then, I say,
That gray belongs to me!
“Let me endorse again my horse,
Delivered safe and sound; And gladly I will give the man
A bottle and a pound !”.
The wine was drunk—the money paid,
Though not without remorse, To pay another man so much
For riding on his horse ;
And let the chase again take place
For many a long, long yearJehn Huggins will not ride again
To hunt the Epping Deer !
Just when we think to grip her:
We only hunt the slipper.
A quiet doze,
Their “bone" repose.