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7.9: Cavendish, Margaret. "The Hunting of the Hare" (1653)

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    Betwixt two Ridges of land, lay Wat,

    Pressing his Body close to Earth lay squat.

    His Nose upon his two Fore-feet close lies,

    Glaring obliquely with his great gray Fyes.

    His Head he alwaies sets against the Wind;

    If turne his Taile his Haires blow up behind:

    Which he too cold will grow, but he is wise,

    And keepes his Coat still downe, so warm he lies.

    Thus resting all the day, till Sun doth set,

    Then riseth up, his Reliefe for to get.

    Walking about until the Sun doth rise,

    Then back returnes, downe in his Forme he lyes.

    At last, Poore Wat was found, as he there lay,

    By Hunts-men, with their Dogs which came that way.

    Seeing, gets up, and fast begins to run,

    Hoping some waies the 〈◊〉 Dogs to shun.

    But they by Nature have so quick a Sent,

    That by their Nose they trace what way he went.

    And with their deep, wide Mouths set forth a Cry,

    Which answer'd was by Ecchoes in the Skie.

    Then Wat was struck with Terrour, and with Feare,

    Thinkes every Shadow still the Dogs they were.

    And running out some distance from the noise,

    To hide himselfe, his Thoughts he new imploies.

    Under a Clod of Earth in Sand-pit wide,

    Poore Wat fat close, hoping himselfe to hide.

    There long he 〈◊〉 not sat, but strait his Eares

    The Winding 〈◊〉, and crying Dogs he heares:

    Starting with Feare, up leapes, then doth he run,

    And with such speed, the Ground scarce treades upon.

    Into a great thick Wood 〈◊〉 strait way gets,

    Where underneath a broken Bough he sits.

    At every Lease that with the wind did shake,

    Did bring such 〈◊〉, made his Heart to ake.

    That Place he left, to Champian Plaines he went,

    Winding about, for to deceive their Sent.

    And while they 〈◊〉 were, to sind his Track,

    Poore Wat, being weary, his swift pace did slack.

    On his two hinder legs for ease did sit,

    His Fore-feet rub'd his Face from Dust, and Sweat.

    Licking his Feet, he wip'd his Eares so cleane,

    That none could tell that Wat had hunted been.

    But casting round about his faire great Eyes,

    The Hounds in full Careere he him 'spies:

    To Wat it was so terrible a Sight,

    Feare gave him Wings, and made his Body light.

    Though weary was before, by running long,

    Yet now his Breath he never felt more strong.

    Like those that dying are, think Health returnes,

    When tis but a faint Blast, which Life out burnes.

    For Spirits seek to guard the Heart about,

    Striving with Death, but Death doth quench them out.

    Thus they so fast came on, with such loud Cries,

    That he no hopes hath left, nor help espies.

    With that the Winds did pity poore Wats case,

    And with their Breath the Sent blew from the Place.

    Then every Nose is busily imployed,

    And every Nostrill is set open, wide:

    And every Head doth seek a severall way,

    To find what , or Track, the Sent on lay.

    Thus quick Industry, that is not slack,

    Is like to Witchery, brings lost things back.

    For though the Wind had the Sent up close,

    A Busie Dog thrust in his Nose:

    And drew it out, with it did foremost run,

    Then Hornes blew loud, for th' rest to follow on.

    The great slow-Hounds, their throats did set a Base,

    The Fleet swift Hounds, as Tenours next in place;

    The little Beagles they a Trebble sing,

    And through the Aire their Voice a round did ring?

    Which made a Consort, as they ran along;

    If they but words could speak, might sing a Song,

    The Hornes kept time, the Hunters shout for Joy,

    And valiant seeme, poore Wat for to destroy:

    Spurring their Horses to a full Careere,

    Swim Rivers deep, leap Ditches without feare;

    Indanger Life, and Limbes, so fast will ride,

    Onely to see how patiently Wat died.

    For why, the Dogs so neere his Heeles did get,

    That they their sharp Teeth in his Breech did set.

    Then tumbling downe, did fall with weeping Eyes,

    Gives up his Ghost, and thus poore Wat he dies.

    Men hooping loud, such Acclamations make,

    As if the Devill they did Prisoner take.

    When they do but a shiftlesse Creature kill;

    To hunt, there needs no Valiant Souldiers skill.

    But Man doth think that Exercise, and Toile,

    To keep their Health, is best, which makes most spoile.

    Thinking that Food, and Nourishment so good,

    And Appetite, that feeds on Flesh, and Blood.

    When they do Lions, Wolves, Beares, Tigers see,

    To kill poore Sheep, strait say, they cruell be.

    But for themselves all Creatures think too few,

    For Luxury, wish God would make them new.

    As if that God made Creatures for Mans meat,

    To give them Life, and Sense, for Man to eat;

    Or else for Sport, or Recreations sake,

    Destroy those Lifes that God saw good to make:

    Making their Stomacks, Graves, which full they fill

    With Murther'd Bodios, that in sport they kill.

    Yet Man doth think himselfe so gentle, mild,

    When he of Creatures is most cruell wild.

    And is so Proud, thinks onely he shall live,

    That God a God-like Nature did him give.

    And that all Creatures for his sake alone,

    Was made for him, to Tyramize upon.

    This page titled 7.9: Cavendish, Margaret. "The Hunting of the Hare" (1653) is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .