James B. (James Bowen) Everhart.

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JOHNA.SEAVERNS



Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine
Cummings Scnoci of Veterinary Medicine at
Tufts University
200 Westboro Road
North Grafton, MA 01536



THE FOX CHASE.



BY



JAMES BOWEN EVERHART,



AUTHOR OF MISCELLANIES AND POEMf



PHILADELPHIA :

PORTER & COATES.
1874.



Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by

J. B. EVERHART,

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



ASHMEAD, PKINTKK.



Hon. JOHN HICKMAN,

THESE PAGES ARE DEDICATED,

AS A TOKEN OF REGARD FOR HIS CHARACTER AS A STATESMAN,

LAWYER, AND FRIEND,

AND FOR HIS LOVE OF "THE NOBLE PASTIME OF

HUNTYNGE WITH RUNNYNGE

HOUNDES."



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

THE FOX,

DRAWING COVER, Frontispiece.

FULL CRY, 12

TALLY-HO! 14

HOUNDS AT FAULT 19

GONE AWAY, 20

DEAD BEAT, 29



Camposque patentes
Scrutamur, totisque citi discurrimus arvis.

Nemesianus.



Videtur
Natura, parens, hunc homini dedisse ludum.

J. C. SCALIGER.

That he 'n is clad and r'edy for to ride,

With hunte and home and houndes him beside 5

For in his hunting hath he swiche delite,

That it is all his joys and appetite.

Chaucer.



A cry more tuneable
Was never halloo'd to, nor cheered with horn,
In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly,

Shakspeare.



PROEM.



In the drifted, muddy strata

Of the Lakers' age of stone j
On the graven wrecks of cities,

Where early science shone j
In history, and in ballads,

In customs, and in modes.
In philosophies, and worship,

In calendars, and codes
Of rude and civil eras,

Of every tongue and place —
We read how all have honored

The service of the chase.



THE FOX CHASE.



Wide o'er the braes of Birmingham —
All rife with song, and sweet with balm,
Where granges trim, with rolling soil,
Are fair to view and kind to toil —
There rose as fresh and gay a morn,
As ever answered hunter's horn.
The skv, suffused with rosy beams.
Enameled downs and silver streams.
Reflected, through the shimmering haze.
The summer of Saint Martin's days.
The pleasant air sighed toward the west,
As Reynard, from his covert press'd,



12 THE FOX CHASE.

Sped o'er the ground, with wondrous ease,
As if upborne upon the breeze.

An instant — shone the thrilling sight !
An instant's pause from sheer delight !
As open mouthed upon his trace.
In glorious cry, forth burst the chase.
With bounding joy and loosened rein.
The gallant steeds devour the plain.
Their clanging hoofs augment the roar
Of fretted currents as they pour
'Gainst Brandywine's historic shore.

The startled osprey drops his spoil,
The cawing crows diffuse the broil,



THE FOX CHASE. I 3

The wild ducks dive beneath the tide,
The snorting herds flee far and wide,
The scattered fowls in panic scream,
The ploughman halts his restless team.
The woodsman holds his axe in poise.
As nearer rings the blithesome noise :
The milkmaid leaves the curdling churn.
And travellers from their journey turn.
And folks from smithv and from manse.
From roadside bank and hill's expanse,
From bridge and mill and garden wall.
Gaze on the hunters' carnival.



Unnumbered tongues the chorus swell,
Unnumbered gestures strive to tell
2



THE FOX CHASE.

Where late the quarry pass'd the dell,
And where, In view, the pack pursued
And vanished in the tangled wood.
Meanwhile, the distant murmurs lead
The foaming huntsmen o'er the mead
And up the gently sloping hill.
Where prudent worth and martial skill
Adorned our dim Ancestral times
With lustre of the Classic climes.



And now, behold! in yonder field!

By chestnut copse, sometime concealed.

The auburn sheen of Reynard's hair,

As on he moves, through shade and glare ;



■.>S'm^^:?^.i#*'^fe*'' ^i



\ Jfl^^^







THE FOX CHASE. I 5

With head erect and streaming tail,
As graceful as a bird or sail —
He scarcely seems to heed the ground,
So light his touch, so fleet his bound ;
So fearless too, he seems to court
And revel in the cheering sport.



Anon, he stops and bends to hear.
As if the music charmed his ear ;
And archly scans the hastening foe
As if he loved the splendid show;-



Anon, he speeds, and well he may,
For nearer now, the pack's fierce bay



l6 THE FOX CHASE.

Rolls o'er the land, so wild and loud
That glen and craggy peak,

And hoary wood and hanging cloud
A thousand echoes speak.



And as the scenic pictures shift,
As colors melt, and shadows lift

Like veils from nature's face.
The multitudinous voice replies.
In ever changing symphonies.

To urge the constant chase.



And surely, never yet was heard

From tongue of man, or throat oi bird,



THE FOX CHASE. 1 7

P'rom reed or tube or string or key,
From all the craft of minstrelsy,
More stirring, joy-inspiring sounds
Than our rude orchestra of hounds

Pours on the listenino; land —
As if the unseen sylvan Powers
Went choiring through the matin hours.

At Dian's fond command.



But Reynard knows his peril well.
And wisely shuns the fatal spell.
Which Reason once could not withstand,
When, floating o'er the sea-born mist,

The Syren's cunning chaunt
Allured the coy, attentive ear,



THE FOX CHASE.

With its delicious tones, too near
The cruel Monsters' haunt.



His keener instinct lends him foils
To catch the strain and 'scape the toils.
He circles round and doubles back,
And crosses o'er his former track,
Confounds his course with frequent scheme-
And swims the dam and wades the stream,
And passes on, with spirit bold.
By stable yard and cattle fold,
And keeps, awhile, the beaten road,
Till turned by cur or creaking load —
Then mounts the fence and runs the rail,
And leaves pursuit without a trail.



THE FOX CHASE. I9

The hounds approach — but soon at fault —
The clamor dies — the huntsmen halt.

Yet ranging, here and there, at will,
With eager search and patient skill.
Some single cry the scent reveals —
The rallied pack, with instant peals.
Exulting, rush in wild array ;
And from their dappled sides display

All tints the Gohel'in weaves —
Like such as flash from pictured Saints,
Or like the genial Season paints

Upon the flying leaves.

A scene unique, so passing bright,
So glorious to the ear and sight,



20 THE FOX CHASE.

Would thrill the sternest soul
That ever carped at grace or joy,
Or scowled at sport of man or boy,

And turned sweet life to dole.
For e'en the horses rapture feel.
And leap unscourged by whip or heel,

With emulation fond ;
And bend the neck and gather quick.
And clear the fence and clear the creek,

And scale the rock beyond.



Lo ! now Away! the Fox has goue^
Forsakes his haunts and trusts his brawn.
And led by his instinctive guides,
Adown the current wind he glides ;



THE FOX CHASE. 21

Nor slacks his foot, nor veers his course,
But onward holds, through grove and gorse.
Until, by Dungeon Hollow's strand.
He feels the moist air fresh and bland :
And sees his mirrored form below.
And hears nor hound nor Tally-ho !



A spot, secluded, wild and weird.

With summer charms subdued and seared \

With channel not too wide to show

The flowers that beyond it blow.

And deep enough for craft as big

As pleasure-skiff or naval gig ;

Presenting, in its waves serene,

A varied and attractive scene,



22 THE FOX CHASE.

Of Stretching lea and sheltering ridge,
Of travelled way and covered bridge,
Of shores, sustained by partial wall,
By native rock, and timbers tall.
Along the borders grown in files,
With branching arcs, like Gothic aisles ;
While every ripple of the stream
Reflects a many-colored gleam.
Of foliage, aster, golden rod.
Still decorating tree and sod ;
And every nook and every glance
Suggests tradition and romance ;
Befitting well the fancied rites
Of former Nymphs or later Sprites ;
Where Fairies might their circle spread,
And Muses inspiration shed —



THE FOX CHASE. 23

A place for age and wearied care,
For love, for penance, and for prayer,
For dreamy thought, or festal hymn —
A place to sail, or fish, or swim.



It seemed, withal, a refuge meet,
For Reynard in his long retreat, —
But as he slakes his burning tongue,
And prowls awhile the brush among.
And half a wounded bird devours.
The cry resumes — and forth he scours.



With freer breath, and strength restored,
He passes o'er the rapid ford ;



24 THE FOX CHASE.

And firmly on the further banks,

An instant, shakes his dripping flanks —



Then skirts along the Red xMan's Spring,
Still gushing, where he used to sing
His battle song and council hold.
With savage pomp, in days of old.



Thence, bears o'er those Pocopson heights.

Where many a gorgeous glimpse delights.

Of rural shows, of pictured land.

So multifarious, vast, and grand.

And grouped and shaded with such grace —

No art could half their beauties trace.



THE FOX CHASE. 25

Then, westward, leaves that rockv heap,
AVhere Indian Hannah used to keep
Her native state, and pride declare.
As Lenappe's unchallenged heir.



Now, as he hies toward Minehill ledge,
Through swamp and burn and ragged hedge,
For manv a mile, the hunt is strown ;
And many a stalwart horse is blown.
And many a boasted dog has thrown
His weary limbs on turf or stone.
And casual echoes, faint and stray,
Show others dragging far away,
Whence neither shout nor bugle strain
Shall rouse them to the "lead" again.
3



26 THE FOX CHASE.

Thus, only few, of all the pack.
Unerring, keep the devious track.
Whose fortitude and finer smell
Their thorough blood and training telL-
Scarce Homer's Argus was more true,
Scarce Ovid's Laelaps swifter flew. —
And, with accordant, deep acclaim.
They follow up the heated game.

Diffusing, as he goes.
More pungent scent along his path.
Spurring pursuit with keener wrath.

As on his rear they close.



Let Reynard hasten — for although
The sunbeams now are slantino; low,



THE FOX CHASE. 27

The dogs gain faster than the night,
And he grows weaker with the Hght.
Unless he reach yon laurel wold,
Or darkness wrap him in her fold,
Or chance or craft the hunt retard,
His future will be brief and hard.



For hoarser vet the warning booms,
And nearer, still, the peril looms.
His lengthening shadow only shows
The distance lessen from his foes :
Who, now perceive, on tufted lawn,
His step relax, his vigor gone :
And forward spring, with kindled zeal,
And all their savage lire reveal,



28 THE FOX CHASE.

Unheeding pain or toil —
As if their nerves were strung with steel
As if their nature did but feel

The bloody lust of spoil.



And Reynard droops, with rare distress,
His supple foot, and famed finesse,
Which saved him oft in sore extremes-
Which Greek and Medieval dreams

With pleasant fables blend —
Exhausted, at his worst estate.
Can naught of any risk abate.

Nor any succor lend.
Nor hollow ground, nor rockv cave,
Nor laurel maze is near to save.



THE FOX CHASE. 29,

Nor can the dusk of eventide
His pace improve, or figure hide.
Nor cloud of mist will here descend,-
Like that which saved Idalia's friend ; —

His draggled tail, and panting breast,
His lolling tongue, his sinking crest.
His filmy glance, his faltering run
Invite the fate he cannot shun ; —

Too late to turn — too late to pause —
Around him, yawning hostile jaws,
Upon his mane a scalding breath.
And in his ear the knell of death,
And on his heart a fell dismay —
He ends the chase — he yields the day.

3*



30 THE FOX CHASE.

And now, the horn, with mellow blare,
Makes resonant the twilight air

With undulations sweet —
And hunter strayed, and lagging hound
Are hastening to the murky ground,

Where Revnard met defeat.



FINIS.



NOTE.



The scene of the tbreg-oing Is laid in Chester County, on
the Battle-ground of the Brandy wine, and up the stream, along
its hills and valleys.

The Red Man's or Indian Spring is just below the Forks.

Indian Hannah belonged to the Lenni-LenappL' tribe, and
remained and died in the county long after her })eople disap-
peared.



BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

MISCELLANIES.

300 pp. i2mo. With Steel Engraving.



"■ An interesting volume.'" — EJ-zv. E - oerett.

"We like to echo the paean to this charm of our life (Beauty
of Women) 5 and we cannot help copying, therefore, some
sweet thoughts on the subject from these Miscellanies." — A'^. P.

miiis.

" It is a gem of its kind. All in all, it is just the book one
likes to read in the long, dreamy summer days." — Lock Hauen
Press.

" It merits a place in every library throughout the country."
— Lancaster Intelligencer.

" The book is composed of pieces written mostly in Europe,
with some essays, reminiscences, Sec. We have read them,



and desire to express our gratification with botii the matter and
style j and we are very sure they will meet with equal favor
into whosesoever hands the book may fall." — Germafito-ivti Tele-
graph.

" Displaying great and varied ability." — Washington Chronicle.

*' They are pleasantly written." — Home Journal, N, Y.

"The volume overflows with classic richness and poetic
elegance." — Lebanon Courier.

*' With this little volume a professional bookmaker would
have woven a library of tales and sketches." — IVilkesbarre
Record of the Times.

" Written in a style that at once engages the interest of the
reader." — Lancaster Examiner and Herald.

"It exhibits great research in the fields of literature, art and
science." — -West Chester Register and Examiner.

"The author has prodigally lavished a wealth of material —
crowding, indeed, too many ideas into too brief space." — West
Chester Village Record.



"We have read it, and we like it. We venture the opinion,
that a fresher volume in style, and the manner of treating its
subjects, has not issued from the press recently. The style is
quick, rattling, sharp ami sententious.'" — JVest Chester Republi-
can and Democrat,

"Just the book to cure a fit of the blues.''^ — West Chester
Jeffersonian.



POEMS.

150 pp. i2mo. Frontispiece on Steel.

"Very readable, showing thought and a natural sense of
melody." — Philadelphia Press.

" Giving evidence of high poetic culture." — Pittsburgh Tra-
'veller.

" Distinguished for flowing versification, genuine pathos, and
fidelity to nature." — Harrisburg State Guard.

" We recommend them to all who love poetry." — West
Branch Bulletin^ Williamsport.



*'A11 bear the stamp of poetic genius/'' — -Delaivare County
America7i.

"Some of them are real gems." — Jftlkesbarre l"i7nes.

"A vein of charming melody runs through every piece/'' —
Oxford Press

*' A production well worth obtaining by every lover of good
poetry/' — Leha7ion Courier.

•"In point of versatility of subject, beauty of imagery, pa-
triotism, eloquence and facility of versification, it is one of the
most successful recently placed before the reading public/' —
West Chester Republican.

"We can point out only a few of its many gems/'' — IVcst
Chester Village Record.



Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine
Cummings Sciioo! of Veterinary Medicine at
Tufts University
200 Westboro Road
North Grafton, MA 01536





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Online LibraryJames B. (James Bowen) EverhartThe fox chase → online text (page 1 of 1)