Imágenes de páginas
[merged small][ocr errors]

"What dog is there possessing the singular self-denial of the pointer or setter? The hound gives full play to his feelings; chases and battles and kicks up as much riot as he likes, provided he is true to his game; the spaniel has no restraint, excepting being kept within gunshot; the greyhound has it all his own way as soon as he is loosed; and the terrier watches at a rat's hole because he can't get into it; but the pointer, at the moment that other dogs satisfy themselves and rush upon their game, suddenly stops and points with almost breathless anxiety to that which we might naturally suppose he would eagerly seize. No; this is my master's, and not mine! To-ho's, the word, and here I am till he comes up or the birds are off of themselves. They run, he creeps after cautiously and carefully, stopping at intervals lest by a sudden movement he should spring them too soon; and then observe and admire his delight when his anxiety, for it is anxiety, is crowned with success, when the bird falls and he lays it joyfully at his master's feet. Oh! a pointer should never be ill-used, he is too much like one of us; he has more head-piece than all the rest of the dog tribe put together. Narrowly watch a steady pointer on his game and see how he holds his breath. It is evident he must stand in a certain degree of pain, for we all know how quickly a dog respires; and when he comes up to you in the field he puffs and blows, and the tongue is invariably hanging out of the mouth. You never see this on a point, and to check it suddenly must give the dog pain; the effort to be quiet, with fetching the breath deeply, causes at intervals a sudden hysteric gasp, which he cannot by any possibility prevent till he can breathe freely again. I have often thought of the burning sensation a dog must have at his chest just at this time. I cannot help, therefore, looking on the pointer as the most perfect artist of the canine race; and any one who has studied the sundry callings of our sundry dogs, must, I think agree with me.

"On two occasions Don signalised himself particularly before two or three friends; the first of these would appear almost incredible, but it is fact: late in the month of August, 1826, I was hunting him with a puppy that was then in the field for the second or third time, as I wanted to show him birds previous to the season; Don found some

o a

birds very handsomely about the middle of the field; the puppy had been jumping and gambolling about with no great hunt in him, and upon seeing the old dog stand ran playfully up to him, when Don deliberately seized him by the neck, gave him a good shaking that sent him back howling to me, and then turned round and steadied himself on his point without moving scarcely a yard.

"At another time I was shooting with a friend in the Isle of Sheppey, where the birds were very plentiful that season; had a brace of dogs out, Don and a white setter. In one field, which was nearly forty acres, we had found several coveys, when Don taking the hedge-row stood very staunch nearly at the end of the field. As we were walking up the setter stood between us and Don about two hundred yards from the latter; we at first thought that he was backing the other, but upon coming near to him we found he had birds of his own, and first come first served. We walked to him, when the birds rose, and we both killed: the old dog turned his head upon hearing the guns, and actually saw the birds fall; but knowing he was right himself he stuck to his own game and continued perfectly steady.—Scott's Field Sports."


The following curious incident regarding a snake-fancier is extracted from Jesse's Natural History.

"A respectable land-surveyor informed me, that while he was making a survey of some property, he was attended by a man who had the character among his neighbours of being a shrewd fellow; but what more particularly entitled him to distinction was his extraordinary intimacy with snakes. On being questioned on the subject, the man said he would soon show the party more than they had ever seen before. It was a sunny spring morning, and they were running a line through a copse. The snake-fancier suddenly dropped the chain handle, and jumped upon a bank. The next moment he came forward with two full-sized snakes writhing about his hands and wrists. After viewing them some time with much affection and admiration, he said, ' Why, bless you, sir, I know their ways as well as they do themselves.' He

[merged small][ocr errors]

then stepped to a road which was near at hand, and placed one of the snakes on the hard ground; taking a thin twig, he tapped the reptile very gently on the head. It immediately darted towards him, when he presented his hand to its open mouth, and continued to play with it, now and then gently tapping it on the head with the twig. He then said that it should counterfeit death, and soon afterwards the snake, to all appearance, lay dead. Those who were standing by thought that this was actually the case; but the snakefancier said that it would soon become sprack again, if they left off looking at it; and accordingly, on their removing to a distance of between twenty and thirty yards, the snake was observed to glide speedily into the nearest hedge. On one occasion, and upon one only, the same person saw a snake in the act of casting his skin. He said, to use his own words, that' it reminded him of a labouring man drawing his smock-frock over his head.' The new skin was perfect in colour and appearance: but the snake appeared in a very languid and exhausted state."

[graphic][merged small]

O wild west wind, thou breath of autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing.

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds, like flocks, to feed in air)
With living hues and odours, plain and hill;

Wild spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!


Thou, on whose stream, 'mid the deep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of heaven and ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning; there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Mamad, even from the dim verge

Of the horizon to the zenith's height

The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere

Black rain, and fire, and hail, will burst; oh hear!


Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the cool of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baise's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers

So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou

For whose path the Atlantic's level powers


Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves; oh hear!


If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;

If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;

A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision, I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee; tameless, and swift, and proud.


Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth;
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind
Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! 0 wind,

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Percy Bysse Shelley.

« AnteriorContinuar »