The Forest Greeting


       THE FOREST GREETING

Good hunting!—aye, good hunting,
  Wherever the forests call;
But ever a heart beats hot with fear,
  And what of the birds that fall?

Good hunting!—aye, good hunting,
  Wherever the north winds blow;
But what of the stag that calls for his mate?
  And what of the wounded doe?

Good hunting!—aye, good hunting;
  And ah! we are bold and strong;
But our triumph call through the forest hall
  Is a brother's funeral song.

For we are brothers ever,
  Panther and bird and bear;
Man and the weakest that fear his face,
  Born to the nest or lair.

Yes, brothers, and who shall judge us?
  Hunters and game are we;
But who gave the right for me to smite?
  Who boasts when he smiteth me?

Good hunting!—aye, good hunting,
  And dim is the forest track;
But the sportsman Death comes striding on:
  Brothers, the way is black.

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.