Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Wake as the storm wakes. I will brook

All, save this calm, from thee.
Lift brightly up and proudly

Once more thy kindling eyes !
Hath my word lost its power on earth ?

I say to thee, Arise !

7. “ Didst thou not know I loved thee well ?

Thou didst not, and art gone
In bitterness of soul to dwell

Where man must dwell alone.
Come back, young fiery spirit,

If but for one hour, to learn
The secrets of the folded heart

That seemed to thee so stern.

8. “Thou wert the first, the first fair child,

That in mine arms I pressed;
Thou wert the bright one, that hast smiled

Like summer on my breast.
I reared thee as an eagle;

To the chase thy steps I led;
I bore thee on my battle horse;

I look upon thee — dead !

9. “Lay down my warlike banners here,

Never again to wave;
And bury my red sword and spear,

Chiefs, in my first born's grave.
And leave me! I hate conquered,

I have slain; my work is done.
Whom have I slain ? Ye answer not;

Thou too art mute, my son."

10. And thus his wild lament was poured

Through the dark, resounding night;

And the battle knew no more his sword,

Nor the foaming steed his might.
He heard strange voices moaning

In every wind that sighed;
From the searching stars of heaven he shrank;
Humbly the conqueror died.

1 CZÄR (zär, or tzär). The title of the 13 ËR'MỊNE. The fur of a small animal emperor of Russia.

I of the same name, of great value. I SA'BRE. A kind of sword, with a 4 BROOK, (brûk). Bear; endure. broad, heavy blade.

| 5 FÖLD'ĘD. Reserved; shut up; close

XXXV. - A LION HUNT.

GERARD.

[This lesson is taken from the Adventures of Gérard (zhā-rär') the Lion Killer, translated from the French by Charles E. Whitehead. Gérard was an officer in the French army employed in Algeria, in North Africa, which is now a French province. Being a man of courage and an admirable marksman, he succeeded in killing a great number of lions, and thus acquired a high reputution both among his own countrymen and the natives of the country. Lions commit such ravages among their cattle that he who destroys one is considered a great public benefactor. Gérard's adventures have been recently published in Paris, where they have attracted much attention. They are written in a very spirited style, and his daring feats are modestly narrated.]

1. On the 4th of August, 1844, I received an invitation from the inhabitants of Mahouna,* the lion's paradise, which I immediately accepted. On my arrival, about sunset, I found the village surrounded by immense piles of light wood, arranged for the reception of the lion, that paid them nightly calls. I forbade their being kindled, and immediately selected the place I intended to occupy, in order to waylay him that very night, in case he should come as usual to prey on the herds.

2. Having by careful searching found the route by which

* Mahou'na is a place in the province of Guelma, in Algeria.

the animal usually came, I took my seat directly in his path, in spite of the remonstrances of the Arabs. Finding nie fixed in my purpose, they brought me mats and cushions; and a smoking repast was soon placed by the side of the couch that was to serve me for the night.

3. My hosts remained with me till a late hour, telling many tragic stories of the strength and ferocity of the lion. As midnight approached, the party broke up, with many prayers for my success. I remained on the watch with a native corporal' in the French service, named Saadi, whose brother was chief of this country. He was armed with a carbine’, and I with a double-barrelled rifle.

4. About one o'clock in the morning, my Arab friend, little accustomed to these night watches, pleaded guilty to being very sleepy, and stretched himself out behind me, where, to do him justice, he slept most soundly. I know many brave men who would not have done as much, while lying in wait for a lion. I had taken the precaution to have all the dogs tied up under the tents, so as to quiet their customary clamor; and now, in the dead silence around me, I could detect the faintest noise or motion.

5. Up to this time the heavens had been serene, and the moon clear; but soon clouds gathered in the west, and came scudding past before a warm, sultry wind; and a little later the sky was all overcast", the moon disappeared, and the thunder rolled round us in heavy peals, announcing a coming tempest. Then the rain fell in torrents, and, drenching my companion, he awoke, and we consulted for a moment about returning. But while we were talking, an Arab called out from the tents, “ Beware! the lion will come with the storm.”

6. This decided me to remain at my post, and I covered the locks of my gun with the skirts of my coat. Soon the rain ceased; flashes of lightning played round the distant horizon“; and the moon, brighter than ever, came in and

out from the fleecy clouds over our heads. I took advantage of every one of these brief moments of clear sky to survey the country about me, and to examine every clump of trees or fallen log; and it was in one of these short luminous intervals that all of a sudden I thought I saw the lion. I waited breathless till the moon came out again. Yes, it was he! standing motionless only a few paces from the camp..

7. Accustomed to see fires lighted at every tent, to hear a hundred dogs barking in terror, and to see the men hurling lighted brands at him, he, without doubt, was at a loss to explain the rather suspicious silence that reigned around him.

8. While I was turning slowly round, in order to take better aim, without being seen by the animal, a cloud shut out the moon. I was seated with my left elbow on my knee, my rifle at my shoulder, watching, by turns, the lion, that I only recognized as a confused mass, and the passing cloud, the extent of which I anxiously contemplated.

9. At length it passed by; and the moonlight, dearer to me than the most beautiful sunshine, illumined the scene, and again showed me the lion, still standing in the same place. I saw him the better because he was so much raised above me; and he loomed up: proudly magnificent, standing as he was in majestic repose, with his head high in air, and his flowing mane undulating in the wind and falling to his knees. It was a black lion, of noble form and the largest size. As he presented his side to me, I aimed just behind his shoulder, and fired.

10. I heard a fierce roar of mingled pain and rage echoing up the hills with the report of my gun, and then from under the smoke I saw the lion bounding upon me.

11. Saadi, roused' the second time that night from his slumbers, sprang to his gun, and was about to fire over my shoulder. With a motion of my arm I pushed aside the barrel of his gun, and when the beast, still roaring furiously, was within three steps of me, I fired my second barrel directly into his breast.

12. Before I could seize my companion's gun, the lion rolled at my feet, bathing them in the blood that gushed in torrents from his throat. He had fallen so near me that I could have touched him from where I stood.

13. In looking for the balls, I found the first one just behind the shoulder, where I had intended it to hit; but the second, that had been fired in haste, and almost at hazard, had given the mortal wound. From this moment I learned that it is not enough to aim correctly in order to kill a lion, and that it is a feat infinitely more serious than I had at first supposed.

14. It was a long while before the Arabs could believe that the lion was really dead, or venture into the presence of the fallen monarch of the forest. But when assured that their dread enemy, from whom they had suffered so much, could no longer harm them, they overwhelmed me with thanks and congratulations.

15. The men, with stately grace, kissed the hem of my garment, or my rifle that lay at my side, saying, “May God strengthen your arm and bless you."

16. The women kissed my hand, saying, “God bless the mother that bore you." The mothers lifted up their chil dren in their arms, that they might touch me and kiss me, saying, “Don't be afraid ; he only harms the lion; he is our friend and brother.”

17. I can say, with all sincerity, that there were no voices BO sweet as those which named my mother's name, that asked me her age, and when I had left her, if I ever heard from her now when far away, if I wanted to see her, and if she were ever coming to their country; and that ended their questions by invoking a thousand blessings on her honored head.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »