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times pursued among the sylvan scenery, to try the met. tle of their steeds, and cross swords with the vaunted Gallic chivalry; and still have they been in the shock victorious ; witness the skirmish that astonished Napoleon at Saldanha-the overthrow that uncrowned him at Waterloo !
“Well, do you know, that after all you have said, Mr. North, I cannot understand the passion and the pleasure of fox-hunting? It seems to me both cruel and dangerous."
Cruelty! Is there cruelty in laying the rein on their necks, and delivering them up to their high conditionfor every throbbing vein is visible-at the first full burst of that maddening cry, and letting loose to their delight the living thunderbolts ? Danger? What danger but of breaking their own legs, necks, or backs, and those of their riders? And what right have you to complain of that, lying all your length, a huge hulking fellow, snoring and snorting half asleep on a sofa sufficient to sicken a whole street ? What though it be but a smallish, reddishbrown, sharp-nosed animal, with pricked-up ears, and passionately fond of poultry, that they pursue? After the first tallyho, Reynard is rarely seen, till he is run in upon-once perhaps in the whole run, skirting a wood, or crossing a common. It is an idea that is pursued, on a whirlwind of horses to a storm of canine music, worthy, both, of the largest lion that ever leaped among a band of Moors, sleeping at midnight by an extinguished fire on the African sands. There is, we verily believe it, nothing foxy in the fancy of one man in all that glorious field of three hundred. Once off and away while wood and welkin rings and nothing is felt nothing is imaged in that hurricane fight, but scorn of all obstructions, dikes, ditches, drains, brooks, palings, canals, rivers, and all the impediments reared in the way of so many rejoicing madmen, by nature, art, and science, in an inclosed, cultivated, civilized, and Christian country. There they go-prince and peer, baronet and squire,—the nobility and gentry of England, the flower of the men of the earth, each on such steed as Pollux never reined, nor Philip's warlike son--for could we ima. gine Bucephalus here, ridden by his own tamer, Alexander would be thrown out during the very first burst, and glad to find his way dismounted to a village alehouse for a pail of meal and water. Hedges, trees, groves, gardens, orchards, woods, farmhouses, huts, halls, mansions, palaces, spires, steeples, towers, and temples, all go wavering by, each demigod seeing, or seeing them not, as his winged steed skims or labours along, to the swelling or sinking music, now loud as a near regimental band, now faint as an echo. Far and wide over the country are dispersed the scarlet runners and a hundred villagers pour forth their admiring swarms, as the main current of the chase roars by, or disparted runlets float wearied and all astray, lost at last in the perplexing woods. Crash goes the timber of the five-barred gate,-away over the ears, flies the exrough rider in a surprising somerset-aster a succession of stumbles, down is the gallant gray on knees and nose, making sad work among the fallow—friendship is a fine thing, and the story of Damon and Pythias most affecting indeed - but Pylades eyes Orestes on his back sorely drowned in sludge, and tenderly leaping over him as he lies, claps his hand to his ear, and with a “shark forward, tan-tivy !" leaves him to remount, lame and at leisure
and ere the fallen has risen and shook himself, is round the corner of the white village.church, down the dell, over the brook, and close on the heels of the straining pack, all a-yell up the hill crowned by the Squire's Folly. “ Every man for himself, and God for us all,” is the devout and ruling apothegm of the day. If death befall, what wonder ? since man and horse are mortal ; but death loves better a wide soft bed with quiet curtains and darkened windows in a still room, the clergyman in the one corner with his prayers, and the physician in another with his pills, making assurance doubly sure, and preventing all possibility of the dying Christian's escape. Let oak branches smite the too slowly stooping skull, or rider's back not timely levelled with his steed's ; let faithless bank give way, and bury in the brook ; let hidden drain yield to fore-feet and work a sudden wreck; let old coal-pit, with briery mouth, betray; and roaring river bear down man and horse to banks unscaleable by the very Welsh goat ; let duke's or earl's son go sheer over a quarry fifty feet deep, and as many high ; yet, “ without stop or stay, down the rocky way” the hunter train flows on; for the music grows fiercer and more savage,-lo! all that remains together of the pack, in far more dreadful madness than hydrophobia, leaping out of their skins, under insanity from the scent, now strong as stink, for Vulpes can hardly now make a crawl of it; and ere he, they, whipper-in, or any one of the other three demoniacs, have time to look in one another's splashed faces, he is torn into a thousand pieces, gobbled up in the general growl; and smug, and smooth, and dry, and warm, and cozey, as he was an hour and twenty-five minutes ago exactly, in his furze-bush in the cover,- he is now,piece. meal in about thirty distinct stomachs; and is he not, pray, well off for sepulture ?
SOLILOQUY ON THE ANNUALS.
(Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1829.)
PERIODICAL literature-how sweet is the name! 'Tis a type of many of the most beautiful things and events in nature; or say, rather, that they are types of it-both the flowers and the stars. As to flowers, they are the prettiest periodicals ever published in folio-the leaves are wirewove and hot-pressed by Nature's self; their circulation is wide over all the land; from castle to cottage they are regularly taken in ; as old age bends over them, his youth is renewed ; and you see childhood poring upon them, prest close to its very bosom. Some of them are ephemeral, and their contents are exhaled between the rising and setting sun. Once a-week others break through their green, pink, or crimson cover ; and how delightful, on the seventh day, smiles in the sunshine the Sabbath flowerthe only Sunday publication perused without blame by the most religious—even before morning prayer. Each month, indeed, throughout the whole year, has its own flowerperiodical. Some are annual, some biennial, some triennial, and there are perennials that seem to live for ever -and yet are still periodical—though our love will not allow us to know when they die, and phenix-like reappear from their own ashes. So much for flowers—typifying or typified ;-leaves emblematical of pages-buds of binding -dew-veils of covers—and the wafting away of bloom and fragrance like the dissemination of fine feelings, bright fancies, and winged thoughts !
The flowers are the periodicals of the earth-the stars are those of heaven. With what unfailing regularity do the numbers issue forth! Hesperus and Luciser! ye are one concern! The pole-star is studied by all nations. How beautiful the poetry of the moon! On what subject does not the sun throw light! No fear of hurting your eyes by reading that fine clear large type on that softened page. Lo! as you turn over, one blue, another yellow, and another green, all, all alike delightful to the pupil, and dear to him as the very apple of his eye! Yes, the great periodical press of heaven is unceasingly at work-night and day; and though even it has been taxed, and its ema. nations confined, still their circulation is incalculable ; nor have we yet heard that Ministers intend instituting any prosecution against it. It is yet free, the only free power all over the world. 'Tis indeed like the air we breathe if we have it not, we die !
Look, then, at all our paper periodicals with pleasure, for sake of the flowers and the stars. Suppose them all extinct, and life would be like a flowerless earth, a starless heaven. We should soon forget the seasons themselves the days of the week—and the weeks of the month-and the months of the year-and the years of the centuryand the centuries of all time—and all time itself flowing away on into eternity. The periodicals of external nature would soon all lose their meaning, were there no longer any periodicals of the soul. These are the lights and shadows of life, merrily dancing or gravely stealing over the dial; remembrancers of the past-teachers of the present-prophets of the future hours. Were they all dead, spring would in vain renew her promise-wearisome would be the long, long, interminable summer days—the fruits of autumn would taste fushionless--and the winter ingle blink mournfully round the hearth. What are the blessed seasons themselves, in nature and in Thomson, but periodicals of a larger growth? They are the parents, or publishers, or editors, of all the others-principal contri. butors-nay, subscribers too—and may their pretty family live for ever, still dying, yet ever renewed, and on the increase every year. We should suspect him of a bad, black heart, who loved not the periodical literature of earth and sky--who would weep not to see one of its flowers wither-one of its stars fall-one beauty to die on its humble bed—one glory to drop from its lofty sphere. Let