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laws a prey,
See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crown'd;
Not thus the land appear'd in ages past,
savage And kings more furious and severe than they ; Who claim'd the skies, dispeopled air and floods, The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods : Cities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves, For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves. 50 What could be free, when lawless beasts obey'd, And ev'n the elements a tyrant sway'd ? In vain kind seasons swell’d the teeming grain, Soft showers distilld, and suns grew warm in vain. The swain with tears his frustrate labor yields, 55 And famish'd dies amidst his ripen'd fields. What wonder then, a beast or subject slain Were equal crimes in a despotic reign? Both doom'd alike, for sportive tyrants bled ; But while the subject starved, the beast was fed. Proud Nimrod first the bloody chase began, 61 A mighty hunter, and his prey was man: Our haughty Norman boasts that barbarous name, And makes his trembling slaves the royal game.
46 And kings more furious. The forest laws of England, brought from Normandy, were fit only to be enforced by tyrants and borne by slaves. The killing of the beasts of chase by the peasantry was punished with loss of eyes, limbs, or life. The game laws of our day are their offspring, and not untouched with the stamp of their parentage.
The fields are ravish'd from the industrious swains,
65 The fields are ravish'd. Pope tells us that this was • translated from the
Templa adimit Divis, fora civibus, arva colonis, of an old monkish writer, forget who.' Warton gives the contrasted line from Camden, speaking of Edgar:
Templa Deo, templis monachos, monachis dedit agros. 80 Himself denied a grave! It is difficult to discover to what incident the poet alludes here. Warton conceives it a reference to the story in St. Foix, that when the body of William the Conqueror was about to be interred, a bystander cried out against suffering him to be laid in that peculiar piece of ground; asserting that William, when duke, had seized the spot from his father without an equivalent; and that prince Henry agreed to pay the claimant, who was only a farrier, a hundred crowns for the land: but this could scarcely be called the denial of a grave.
The modern scepticism which meets all the facts of history only with an intention to dispute them, doubts the ravages of William and his son in Hampshire. It is true, that it is not easy, in the absence of minute records, to prove the specific
Stretch'd on the lawn his second hope survey,
blood, And purer spirits swell the sprightly flood, Now range the hills, the gameful woods beset, 95 Wind the shrill horn, or spread the waving net.
waste committed by those tyrants; but the returns of the population, property, and tillage, of those districts before and after the reigns of the Conqueror and his son, amply show that a devastation must have been exercised there of the most sweeping kind.
81 Second hope. William, second son of William the Conqueror.
83 The spot on which the king was slain is still pointed out in the New Forest : even the oak, against which sir Walter Tyrrel's arrow glanced, survived within memory. Tbe mo. ment sir Walter Tyrrel had shot him, he instantly hastened to the sea-shore, without speaking of the accident, and embarked for France, and thence hurried to Jerusalem to do penance for his involuntary crime. The body of Rufus was found in the forest by a countryman, whose family are said to be still living near the spot; and was buried, without any pomp, before the altar of Winchester cathedral, where the monument remains.
When milder autumn summer's heat succeeds,
125 When frosts have whiten'd all the naked groves;
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o’ershade,
In genial spring, beneath the quivering shade,
Now Cancer glows with Phoebus' fiery car: The youth rush eager to the sylvan war; Swarm o'er the lawns, the forest walks surround, Rouse the fleet hart, and cheer the opening
hound. The impatient courser pants in every vein, And pawing seems to beat the distant plain : Hills, vales, and floods appear already cross'd; And ere he starts, a thousand steps are lost.
154 See the bold youth strain up the threatening steep, Rush through the thickets, down the valleys sweep, Hang o'er their coursers' heads with eager speed, And earth rolls back beneath the flying steed.