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TH

HE old and infirm have at least this privilege,

that they can recal to their minds those scenes of joy in which they once delighted, and ruminate over their past pleasures, with a satisfaction almost equal to the first enjoyment. For those ideas, to which any agreeable sensation is annexed, are easily excited ; as leaving behind the most strong and permanent impresfions. The amusements of our youth are the boast and comfort of our declining years. The ancients carried this notion even yet further, and supposed their heroes in the Elysian Fields were fond of the very fame diversions they exercised on earth. Death itself could not wean them from the accustomed sports and gayeties of life.

“ Pars in gramineis exercent membra palæstris ; “ Contendunt ludo, et fulvâ luctantur arenâ : “ Pars pedibus plaudunt choreas, et carmina dicunt. “ Arma procul, currüfque virûm miratur inanes. “ Stant terrâ defixæ haftæ, paffimque soluti Per campum pafcuntur equi. Quæ gratia currûm Armorumque fuit vivis, quæ cura nitentes .Pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos.”

VIRG. Æneid. vi. Part on the graffy cirque their pliant limbs In wrestling exercise, or on the sands Struggling dispute the prize. Part lead the ring, Or swell the chorus with alternate lays.

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The chief their arms admires, their empty cars, Their lances fix'd in earth. Th' unharness'd steeds Graze unrestrain'd; horses, and cars, and arms, All the same fond defires, and pleasing cares,

Still haunt their fhades, and after death survive. I hope therefore I may be indulged (even by the more grave and censorious part of mankind) if at my leisure hours, I run over, in my elbow-chair, some of those chaces, which were once the delight of a more vigorous age. It is an entertaining, and (as I conceive) a very

I innocent amusement. The result of these rambling imaginations will be found in the following poem ; which if equally diverting to my readers, as to myself, I shall have gained my end. I have intermixed the preceptive parts with so many descriptions and digreffions in the Georgick manner, that I hope they will not be tedious. . I am sure they are very necessary to be well understood by any gentleman, who would enjoy this noble sport in full perfection. In this at least I may comfort myself, that I cannot trespass upon their patience more than Markham, Blome, and the other prose writers

upon

this subject. It is most certain, that hunting was the exercise of the greatest heroes in antiquity. By this they formed themselves for war; and their exploits against wild Leafts were a prelude to their other victories. Xenophon says, that almost all the ancient heroes, Nestor, Theseus, Castor, Pollux, Ulyffes, Diomedes, Achilles, &c. were pabrice ruinyest@v, disciples of hunting ; being taught carefully that art, às what would be highly

serviceable

serviceable to them in military discipline. Xen. Cynegetic. And Pliny observes, those who were designed for great captains, were first taught “ certare cum fu“ gacibus feris cursu, cum audacibus robore, cum cal. • lidis astu:" to contest with the swiftest wild beasts, in fpeed; with the boldest, in strength ; with the most cunning, in craft and fubtilty. Plin. Panegyr. And the Roman emperors, in those monuments they erected to transmit their actions to future ages, made no scruple to join the glories of the chace to their moft celebrated triumphs. Neither were their poets wanting to do justice to this heroick exercise. Beside that of Oppian in Greek, we have several poems in Latin upon hunting. Gratius was contemporary with Ovid; as appears by this verse; “ Aptaque venanti Gratius arma dabit.”

Lib. iv. Pont. Gratius shall arm the huntsman for the chace. But of his works only fome fragments remain. There are many others of more modern date. Amongst these Nemesianus, who seems very much superior to Gratius, though of a more degenerate age. But only a fragment of his first book is preserved. We might indeed have expected to have seen it treated more at large by Virgil in his third Georgick, since it is expressly part of his subject. But he has favoured us only with ten verses; and what he says of dogs, relates wholly to greyhounds and mastiffs. 6 Veloces Spartæ catulos, acremque Moloffum.”

Georg. iii. The greyhound swift, and mastiff's furious breed.

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And he directs us to feed them with butter-milk. “ Pasce sero pingui.” He has, it is true, touched upon the Chace in the 4th and 7th books of the Æneid. But it is evident, that the art of hunting is very

different now from what it was in his days, and very much altered and improved in these latter ages. It does not appear to me that the ancients had any notion of pursuing wild beasts by the scent only, with a regular and welldisciplined pack of hounds; and therefore they must have pasied for poachers amongst our modern sportsmen. The mufter-roll given us by Ovid, in his story of Actzon, is of all sorts of dogs, and of all countries. And the description of the ancient hunting, as we find it in the antiquities of Pere de Montfaucon taken from the Sepulchre of the Nasos, and the Arch of Constantine, has not the least trace of the manner now in use.

Whenever the ancients mention dogs followed by the fcent, they mean no more than finding out the game by the nose of une single dog. This was as much as they knew of the “ odora canum vis,” Thus Nemesianus says,

« Odorato nofcunt veftigia prato, “ Atque etiam leporum secreta cubilia monftrant.” They challenge on the mead the recent stains,

And trail the hare unto her secret form. Oppian has a long description of these dogs in his firft book, from ver. 479 to 526. And here, though he feems to describe the hunting of the hare by the scent through many turnings and windings; yet he really Says no more, than that one of those hounds, which he

calls

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