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chairs to mend. Here's ready money for your old
How things are altered! These itinerant dealers were such conspicuous characters in the time of Addison, that we find them often described in the Spectator. The Song of Colly Molly Puff,' is mentioned in the 25th number, as one of the most noted of them; and so much were these cries admired, that Shuter, the most witty comic actor of his time, frequently entertained crowded audiences on his benefit nights, with an admirable imitation of them.
This instrument is not the joy-inspiring horn,' as some have described it,-on the contrary, its notes are sombre, soft, and melancholy. By the French it is termed the English 'Cor de chasse ;' but this is an error. If we refer to the pictures representing the sports of the chace, in which our forefathers took such delight, we see the hunting-horn slung at the side of the huntsman,—something in the form and curve of a scymitar,—the notes of which have a shrill and ringing tone.
How sweet in the woodlands,
With fleet hound and horn,
And taste the fresh morn. We are no longer the hardy race of hunters we once were. The gentry of these days snuff the
noon-tide air,' not like the sportsmen of old, up and buckled with the grey of the morning. Then the hardy Baron, with his peasantry, enjoyed the sports of the field in the 'health-breathing morn.' Let us not forget these times, but refer to our national songs that describe such days of simplicity and peace.
With hounds and with horns
I'll waken the day.*
Awake from your trances,
To catch sluggish mortals in bed.
The sweet rosy morning
Peeps over the bills ;
The meadows and fields.
With early horn, salute the morn,
That gilds the charming place ;
And join the jovial chace.
Who has not breathed the brown smell of the tangled wood, and heard in its fragrant shades the laughing echoes !
Hark! the hollow woods, resounding,
Echo to the bugle horn;
Clears the brake, and leaps the thorn. To rouse the stag from his bowery nook, and see him bound over hill and dale, fills the soul with transport, and admiration of Nature's works.
But why should man with death pursue
The graceful hind, that skims the forest through? Cannot he enjoy the sweet face of nature without staining it with blood ? 'Tis savage custom all, and the time will come when man, refined, will sport no more with life. Hunting seems to have been the sole occupation of the highest ranks in former times. "The clergy' were privileged to kill game on the royal grounds, upon the condition of sounding a horn, that it might not appear they intended to steal the game. An Abbot of Leicester surpassed all the sportsmen of the time in the art of hare-hunting; and the Bishop of Rochester, who lived in the thirteenth century, was so fond of the sport, that at the age of fourscore he made it his sole employment, to the total neglect of his Christian duties.* Happily for the age in which we live, pleasures more refined are rooting out this barbarous taste; and the timid hare, now more at ease, can range the pleasant fields of Leicestershire.
* Strutt's Sports and Pastimes.
This county, so celebrated for its smooth and verdant turf, and gently sloping hills, invites the gentry from all parts of England for the pleasures of the chase. The loitering hare now moves too slow for sport, and the daring fox leads on the adventurous throng.
In the month of November the lovers of the chase begin to assemble at the neat little market town of Melton,-dull as Morpheus in time of summer,waking to life only in the winter. As soon as the morning breaks, the dogs and horses are led to cover often to the distance of twenty miles, where the high-mettled steeds are walked about by spruce and cunning grooms, waiting their masters coming. Soon the landscape shows a speckled scene of glaring spots of red;* 'tis the Nimrods of the chase, on splashed and dirty hacks, bounding to cover. Arrived, their nether garb they doff, and in spotless trim mount their shining steeds.f All is cheerfulness and glee,—but see! the master of the pack arrives, and the impatient hounds dart into cover. Now all is silence, save the huntsman's cheer, who calls the hounds to sport,
Yoick find him; try for him; have at him my boy. But hark! a hound gives tongue,
* More than two hundred clad in scarlet. + Often to the number of three or four hundred.