SPORTING WITHOUT A LICENCE.
There's a charm when Spring is young,
And comes laughing on the breeze.
When each leaflet has a tongue,
That is lisping in the trees.
When morn is fair, and the sunny air
With chime of beaks is ringing,
Through fields to rove with her we love,
And listen to their singing.
The sportsman finds a zest,
Which all others can outvie,
With his lightning to arrest
Pheasants whirring through the sky;
With dog and gun from dawn of sun,
Till purple evening hovers,
O'er field and fen, and hill and glen,
The happiest of rovers.
The hunter loves to dash
Through the horn-resounding woods.
Or plunge with fearless splash
Into intercepting floods;
O'er gap and gate he leaps elate,
The vaulting stag to follow,
And at the death has scarcely breath
To give the hoop and hollo!
By the river's margin dank.
With the reeds and rushes mix'd,
Like a statue on the bank,
See the patient angler fix'd,
A summer's day he whiles away
Without fatigue or sorrow,
And if the fish should baulk bis wish,
He comes again to-morrow.
In air let pheasants range,
'Tis to me a glorious sight,
Which no fire of mine shall change
Into grovelling blood and night;
I am no hound to pant and bound
Behind a stag that's flying,
Nor can I hook a trout from brook,
On grass to watch its dying.
And yet no sportsman keen
Can a sweeter pastime ply,
Or enjoy the rural scene,
With more ecstasy than I;
There's not a view, a form, a hue,
In earth, or air, or ocean.
That does not fill my heart, and thrill
My bosom with emotion.
O clouds that paint the air!
O fountains, fields, and groves!
Sights, sounds, and odours rare,
Which my yearning spirit loves.
Thus I feel, and only steal
From visions so enchanting,
In tuneful lays to sing your praise—
What charm of life is wanting? H.