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Hail, lovely season of the changing year!
What varied beauties clothe the mellow scene!
On some still day, when deep repose enchains
The loud discordant winds, how sweet a calm
Pervades the scene, as Nature's self repos'd
Through all her varied works, and whisper'd rest
To restless toilsome man!
p. 75,

After an eloquent address to his dog, the sportsman proceeds.
Here at this gap,

Here will we enter, where the yellow leaves,
The first pale off'rings of the trembling woods
To tyrant Winter, by his servile slaves

Eurus and Boreas gather'd,, strew the ground.
Now put your vigour forth, my old ally,

And round this op'ning glade, with circling steps,
The clust'ring thickets range. Ah! there they rise.
One haply comes this way. The gun resounds.
I saw him fall beneath the mossy branch

Of that wide-spreading oak. Yes, there he lies! His vivid plumage, like an heap of gems On a coarse carpet spread, seems all too rich For the rough russet ground on which it lies. p. 78, 79. While he reposes a while in the depth of the wood, he indulges in a long invective against a town life, and an effeminate education. We are better pleased, however, with the description which winds it up..

E'en here, extended on the verdant moss

That clothes the twisted roots of this tall tree,
What tranquil pleasure soothes my careless mind!
Whilst all that meets the eye or strikes the ear,
Harmonious mingling, swells the woodland scene.
Nor the soft whisper of the passing gale
Amidst the trembling leaves, nor various hues
Those leaves that sweetly paint, nor sights nor sounds
Inanimate, alone unite to please.

Borne on the breeze, from the high-furrow'd field,
The ploughman's steady chaunt to his slow team
Monotonous, I mark. The blackbird pipes

From the green holly; then, with thoughtless wing,
Close glances by my side; but wheeling short,
Alters his course, and shrieking, as he flies,
Proclaims his groundless fears. The little wren
Flits on from branch to branch, 'till, o'er my head,
With tail erect and nodding head, he vents,
Chatt'ring, his anger at intrusive man.
Above, with circling flight, the rav'nous kite
Sails o'er the wood, and, stooping oft,

Brushes the topmost boughs, and, with keen eye,


Explores the ground beneath; 'till hither led
By chance, he startles at my dang'rous form,
Flaps his wide wings, and quickly soars aloft.
Through wither'd grass and ferns the whitethroat creeps,
Oft stopping to inhale the scented air

With eager nose; then fast, with foot as light

As falling leaf, he nimbly winds away.' p. 87-89. The book closes with the description of a woodland sunset, without omitting the circumstances appropriate to the author's vocation.

Thus through the winding shades as slow I pass, The pheasant cockets, ere he seeks in sleep To close his brilliant eye, whilst whistling sharp In her descending flight his mate responds.' P. 92. The Fourth Book, which treats of Woodcock Shooting, has very considerable merit. The winter landscape is prettily sketched; and the adventures of the woodcock himself pursued with considerable feeling.

Ill fares it with him then,

On stormy seas mid-way surpris'd: no land
Its swelling breast presents, where safe reclin'd
His panting heart might find a short repose;
But wide around the hoarse-resounding seas
Meets his dim eye. Should some tall ship appear
High bounding o'er the waves, urg'd by despair,
He seeks the rocking masts, and throws him down
Amid the twisted cordage :-thence rèpell'd,
If instant blows deprive him not of life,
He flutters weakly on, and drops at last,
Helpless and flound'ring, in the whit'ning surge.
Yet not the perils of th' aerial way,

Nor varied death, that hovers on the shore
From guns, and nets, and hairy springes, serve
The fruitful race t'extirpate. When the year
Struggles to break from winter's rough embrace,
And with a livelier vesture clothe the earth,
The woodcock musters on the sea-beat shore
His bands decreas'd. On some propitious day
He springs aloft, and through the pathless air,
With course unerring, seeks his native shores.
Perchance on some Norwegian forest vast,
Beneath colossal pines and mingl'd firs,

Where murm'ring streams with fruitful current, wind
Again their wonted course, his old abode,
He plumes his spotted wing anew, and gives
His yielding heart to love: Fearless he roves
Amidst his feather'd family, 'till Fate


Coercive drive him forth to other lands,

In happy ign'rance of impending death.

p. 99-101. The tender but summer-like gleam of a wintry sun, in a calm and sheltered recess of the woods, is represented with no vulgar skill. We can only make room for the concluding part of the picture.

On yonder hill a fowler meets my eye,

Where, spreading wide its navigable wave,
The winding river severs in its course
The kindred soil,-diminish'd to a dwarf
Himself, his dogs as dwarfish, and the smoke
That issues from his gun, long time precedes
The faint report. How grateful is the beam
Of the meridian sun, that cheers the world
With no intemp'rate warmth! All nature owns
His sov'reignty benign, and where he points
His condescending ray, the mourning Earth
Smiles faintly, whilst his icy gripe awhile,
Stern Winter half relaxes. Were it not
For the bare forest, and the sallow fields,
Their wither'd herbage sprinkl'd o'er with frost,
The wanton smile of summer might be deem'd
To play upon yon azure wave, where rides
The vessel whose gay flag descends in folds

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From the high top-mast, by no breeze disturb'd. p.116,117. The last book is dedicated to the description of Snipe and Duck Shooting. Both scenes are sketched in a very lively manner; but the scenery of the last is most engaging. After going through the cruel and unnatural operation of rising and breakfasting before daybreak, the poet proceeds.

But a far nobler spoil

Awaits him on the river; where the rocks,
Aiding the roaring stream, it keeps at bay
The eager frost, and many a broken pool,
Half liquid and half solid, forms,--the haunt
Of all the kindred tribes that love to cleave,
With glossy breast and paddling feet, the flood,---
Widgeon, or teal, or duck,-majestic swan,
Or heavy goose-with many a fowl beside
Of lesser size and note, who, when the world
Has sunk to rest, beneath the moon-beam dash
The sparkling tide.
p. 129, 130.
Those tow'ring rocks,
With nodding wood o'erhung, that faintly break
Upon the straining eye, descending deep,
A hollow basin form, the which receives
The foaming torrent from above. Around
Thick alders grow, We steal upon the spot


With cautious step, and, peering out, survey
The restless flood. No object meets our eye.
But hark! what sound is that approaching near?

"Down close "The wild-ducks come, and, darting down,
Throw up on ev'ry side the troubl'd wave:
Then gaily swim around with idle play.
With breath restrain'd, and palpitating heart,

I view their movements, whilst my well-taught dogs,
Like lifeless statues, crouch. Now is the time !
Closer they join; nor will the growing light
Admit of more delay.-With fiery burst,
The unexpected death invades the flock.
Tumbling they lye, and beat the flashing pool;
Whilst those remoter from the fatal range
Of the swift shot, mount up on vig'rous wing,
And wake the sleeping echoes as they fly.
Quick on the floating spoil my spaniels rush,
And drag them to the shore.

The growing light
Opens the wint'ry scene, and soon the sun
With cheerful beam shall meet us.

Now the heav'ns

Foretel his near approach; and now he drives
His ruby car along the eastern sky.

What pen or pencil shall presume to draw
The glowing scene, the rosy hue that paints
The glist'ning snow, the fiery gleams that flash
From crystal icicles that deck the rocks

Or hoary willow's roots, and, with a flood

Of brightest splendour, light the river up!' p. 138-141. We conclude our extracts with the following picture of the closing in of a winter evening, which reflects no despicable image of the truth and minuteness and tenderness of Cowper.

'The snow has ceas'd to fall; the gloomy clouds,
Retiring, like disbanded troops, disperse

In all directions, and leave Heaven's wide plain
Free, for the glitt'ring stars their num❜rous bands
Irregular to muster. Frost his rage

Abates not, but, with persevering spleen,
Stiffens the new-fall'n snow. The village pours
From ev'ry chimney volumes of thick smoke,
From the dry faggot or the close par'd turf
Arising, of more pure and wholesome scent
Than the rank coal sulphureous. Happy they,
Whose scanty cottage holds, within its walls,
The ready fuel pil'd. They need not brave
The season's fury, from the furzy brake,
Or frozen wood, with hands benumb'd, to pick,


And shiv'ring limbs ill guarded from the cold,
The casual branch strewed by the wint'ry wind.
For see yon motley crew advancing slow,
Beneath their burdens on the slipp❜ry road,
Nor male nor female their uncouth attire,
But ill compos'd of each,-female their sex,
Various their ages.-By the stooping side
Of feeble matron, walks with vig'rous step,
In the full bloom of youth, the buxom maid.
The quilted petticoat, once glossy bright,
Rusty and soil'd, and streaming to the wind,
Denotes them best; for on their shoulders hangs
The faded coat, with gorgeous buttons once
Thick studded; now but one remains alone,
To guard it from desertion. The flapp'd hat,
Rejected by the lordly husband, rent
Disastrously; nor can we spare to sigh
At the dishonour'd scarlet, faint and wan,
And stript of all appendages; though once
With innate pride of British valour, worn
On the thick tented plain, nor e'er design'd
For such ignoble use. Laborious band!
Full hardly have you earn'd the scanty means
Of a short hour of needful ease and warmth.
But lives there, righteous Heav'n, th' unpitying man,
Who, blest with all that fortune can bestow,
Forbids the shiv'ring villager to take
The useless refuse-locks his guarded gates
Without remorse-and, should an hapless foot
Upon his parks intrude, enrag'd, lets loose
His upstart menials on the trembling wretch?
Ah! can the sparkling glass be sweet to him?
Can his proud fires impart a pleasing warmth ?
Or can he, on his downy pillow, place

His weary head, expecting calm repose?' p. 134-137. We do not offer these passages to our readers as specimens of very exquisite or powerful poetry; but they possess the merit, we think, of truth and simplicity. There is something modest and amiable and natural, we think, throughout the whole composition; and, being satisfied that there are many readers to whom it will afford more pleasure than it has done to us, we think it right to make this little effort to make them and the author acquainted. We think he may do something better than make poems upon field sports; but we would not encourage him to leave even this calling for the chance of carrying off the prize in the more beaten walks of literature.


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