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(FROM THE GERMAN OF BUROER.)
PRAY tell me now where Weinsberg lies?
Of maids and matrons many:
Its liege, Courad the Emperor,
The good town once offended,
And thereupon descended:
But still the valiant town stood out,
The monareh's wrath inflaming,
With trumpet-blast proclaiming:
As thus proclaimed the herald loud
In market and in by-way,
By hearth-stone and on highway. Dear in the leaguered town was food, But dearer yet was counsel good.
"Oh, woe is me!" the townsfolk call,
"Good Lord, have mercy on us all!
Alack! alack! there is no hope!"—
Already each man feels the rope.
But when the case small hope admits,
In spite of each endeavor,
The subtlest toils will sever:
A wife in wit and virtue rich,
A matron newly mated,
The townsfolk much elated:
At midnight a fair embassy
And in his camp they bent the kneo
They pleaded long, nor plead amiss,
But gained no better terms than this:
The women should be free to go,
But what remained—ay, blood should flow,
Their supplications all in vain,
Homeward returned the weeping train.
But lo! when bright the morning beamed.
What think you happened straightway? A train of noble women streamed
Forth from the nearest gate-way, Her lord each bearing in a sack, True as I'm living—pickapack!
Then many a sycophant averred
Their trick should naught avail them;
Qnoth Courad then, "Our royal word
Ho, bravo!" cried he; "bravo, ho!
Would that our spouse were minded so!"
He pardoned all, both great and small,
High revel held at pleasure,
And trod a stately measure:
Pray tell me now where Weiusberg lies?
In sooth a gallant city,
And pious, leal, and witty:
ABOUT THE FOX AND FOX-HUNTERS.
an animal of great merit only, but indeed as a representative of intellectual character. It is but just to say, however, that the fox is but a fair representative of the superior abilities of all animals in their spheres. We know Reynard better than the others, simply because circumstances have brought him more frequently in contact with the human species; for by the chase he has for generations brought his "natural smartness" to bear against the united resources of the dog, of the horse, of man; and in the contest the fox has always displayed abilities that have made it difficult to decide unqualifiedly that he is not entitled to an equal share of honors, in what at first sight would appear to be a most unequal contest.
He is the inhabitant of all the northern and temperate regions of the globe, and though varying in color and size, every where maintains his marked peculiarities of character. His forehead is high and broad; his eyes are so set that he has a wide range of vision; his snout is sharp; his ears erect and pointed; his body is liberally supplied with fur; his tail straight and remarkable for its brush-like appearance. His natural age is twelve years, but as foxes are Ishmaelites by nature and practice, they seldom reach their allotted span of life.
Reynard comes not only from an intelligent
family, but also of a race blessed with tough rock, tree, or fence, and with the inhabitants of muscles, an exquisite scent, and a heroic spirit h'is vicinity. Foxes are exceedingly tender of under misfortunes. He is unlike the dog in I their young, both parents laboring industriously being full of dissimulation and treachery, and . for their support. If suddenly surprised by dogs, has no courage to compare with the wolf. The ' the old ones will conceal their cubs, and by bolddog and wolf will associate as friends, but the ly breaking cover, lead their enemies away from wolf and dog are sworn enemies of the fox. The ; their den. The anxious mother has often been gait of the fox is treacherous, and his glance is ! seen runuing before the hounds with a cub in her always sinister, glaring, or stealthy. By decep- 1 mouth. As the young increase in size they are tion patiently practiced, ho accomplishes his great- ' taken by the old ones out on predatory excurest trinmphs. He will willingly lie all day con- j sions; taught to leap, to "double," and to praecealed among the grass in the vicinity of a pond, i tice the approved methods of stealing. The waving for long hours the bushy end of his tail, young fox is not, however, always grateful; fur thereby enticing geese and ducks, the over-euri- I when foxes' holes have been stopped, the parents ous inhabitants of its surface, within his reach. ' have been known to fall victims to the appetites He will seize a bunch of moss between his teeth, ; of the ravenous brood.
launch himself into the stream, and, unsuspected, j The burrow of the fox is not only remarkable float among his feathered victims, thus securing | for its happily selected location but also for the his prey. If the ruse is necessary for success, he great skill shown in its construction. Buffon will affect to be dead, and the hound's sharp teeth, ' was so struck by this fact, that he proposed to or pow der flashed under his sensitive nose, have I place the fox among the higher order of quadrufailed to call forth any evidences of life. j peds. The remarkable saying, "The foxes have
As a general rule the fox commits his depreda-1 holes and the birds have nests," would seem to tions in the night; and if he is fortunate in kill- j be an inspired recognition of the comfort and ing more food than he immediately requires, he security of the fox's den.
hides the surplus in the ground for future use. From the natural sagacity of the fox, the He is the enemy of the poultry-yard, and all strong scent it leaves when hunted, its speed and favorite game. He preys voraciously upon all apparently natural association with the precincts animals weaker than himself, and has been j of the farm-yard, its capture by the aid of horses known to tear down young calves and lambs. I and dogs affords one of the most exciting sports When hard pressed he will subsist on serpents, j indulged in by man. There seems to be no toads, moles, and rats, playing with them before j element of healthful recreation wanting. The killing as would a cat. If living on the sea- ; time, if favorable, is in the pleasantest season of coast, he becomes very fond of oysters, crabs, the year; the scene over hill and dale, and your and other shell-fish. Though not a great con- companions dashing gentlemen. We have been mimer of grapes, he seems to delight to destroy no idle participants in the wild sports of the them, seemingly from wanton mischief. Solomon woods and fields. We have rightfully claimed a alludes to "the little foxes that destroy the share of spoils of all sorts of legitimate game, vines." He is a great observer of localities, great and small, and we remember vividly all and soon becomes familiar with every pathway, the pleasant incidents connected therewith; but
as time softeus jet embellishes the review, it seems to us that the morning meeting of the jolly fox-hunters of all others was the most thoroughly hearty, and the sport that followed the most manly and exciting.
Fox-hunting in America, though less pretentious in details, and less technical than in England, is as enthusiastically pursued in our Middle and Southern States. Certainly we do not pay enormous prices for hounds, nor keep up studs of hunters at prodigious cost, yet our people, when the country permits it, are hunters after a rude but thorough manner; and although we do not ride in white top boots and corduroys, yet we ride to the purpose, and through the hills, rough rocks, broken precipices, quaggy swamps, and fatal quick-sands, we are still eager and stanch hunters. Our horses are doubly trained in the deer and fox hunt, and though they may not be as speedy in passing over an open field, or so well trained in leaping hedges and ditches, still they are more wiry and active than their English rivals. From Maryland to Florida, and further west through Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, fox-hunting contends with deerhunting as the favorite amusement. In fact, the chase of the fox may be properly regarded as a Southern sport in the United States, as it is never followed on horseback in the North,
owing to the rocky and precipitous character of tho country, and the unyielding opposition of our sturdy farmers in favorable locatious, who would never permit a dozen horses leaping their fences and galloping over their wheat fields. Besides, the red fox, which is more generally found in the North, runs so far before the dogs that he would be seldom seen, and could at his pleasure, under any circumstances, escape in some rocky fissure or impenetrable burrow. In the Southern States, on the contrary, the ground is generally favorable to the amusement, and the planter sustains but little injury from the passing hunt, which, from tho iustinctive leading of the fox, is confined to the ridges and high dry grounds, and not to the cultivated fields.
The modes of hunting the fox are much alike in all the Southern States. To the sound of the winding horn the neighboring gentry collect at an appointed place, each accompanied by his favorite dogs, and usually by a negro who acts as "whipper in." Mounted on fine horses accustomed to the sport, they send in their hounds to hunt over the selected ground, and wait the start. Thickets on the edges of long cultivated plantations, brier patches, deserted fields covered with bloom-grass, are places where the fox is most likely to have his bed. The trail he has left behind him during his nocturnal rambles being struck, the hounds are encouraged by the voices of their drivers to as great a speed as the devious course it leads them will permit. Once scenting the trail, they follow it along where the fox the previous night has been in search of partridges, meadow-larks, rabbits, and field-mice; presently they trace his footsteps to a log, from which he has jumped upon the neighboring fence, which following a short distance, then leaped a ditch and struck into the borders of a marsh. Through all his crooked and cautious ways the sagacious hounds follow until he is suddenly roused, perchance from a vision of successful barn-yard robberies, by the clamorous cry of the pack. At first the fox makes two or three rapid doublings, and then suddenly flies to cover, perhaps a quarter of a mile off. This possibly for a few moments throws the dogs out, but the moment the chase has continued long enough to get the fox warm, the trail is then followed by the dogs with precision and unerring certainty, and the struggle now becomes exciting. Now the hunters, who have been impatiently waiting, dash in after the "ringing pack." When the woods are open, which is often the case where the custom of annually firing the undergrowth prevails, the horsemen keep up with the hounds, and the fox is frequently in sight. In his efforts to escape, Reynard, after he despairs of his heels, commences his manoeuvres to elude his pursuers; he plunges into thickets, doubles on his track, runs into the water, follows a fence top for a hundred yards or more, and then makes a desperate bound to earth so that he may break his trail. At last, fatigued and stiffened by exertion, his enemies seize him, and he dies bravely, defiantly fighting and snapping with his teeth to the last.
General Washington, with regard to fox-hunting, was a representative man in his day, and was probably one of the best riders of his time— an accomplishment that gave him dignity and efficiency when he became the commander-inchief of the Revolutionary army. His favorite horse, after he took up his residence at Mount Vernon, was a splendid iron-gray, approaching to blue, rejoicing in the name of Blenheim. His house, at the time referred to, was the central point, not only from the vicinity, but from Maryland, for gentlemen who were fond of the chase; these friendly visits frequently extending for weeks, and each day made memorable by unbounded hospitality. Washington dressed for a fox-hunt must have been a most splendid specimen of a man, his fine person set off by the true sporting costume of blue coat, scarlet waistcoat, buckskin breeches, boots with yellow tops, silver spurs, velvet cap, and a showy whip handle supporting a long, tapering, but heavy lash. Thus adorned, and accompanied by Hill Lee, his huntsman, at*he head of his friends and retainers, at early dawn he took the field, and in the excitement of the chase none rode more gallantly, and no voice more cheerily made the woodlands ring than his. The foxes hunted at this time were the gray species; but there was an exception, a
black fox, that Washington frequently hunted, but without success. This animal, the history of which would, no doubt, be curious, would bid defiance to all pursuers, running from ten to twenty miles, distancing both dogs and horses. It was a boast of Washington that his pack, numerous as it was, ran so close that they could bo covered with a blanket—an expression that is as suggestive as a volume could be of the nice sense he had of the proprieties of the sport, and what a critical eye and judgment he brought to bear in its enjoyment. Washington's hunting establishment, though not entirely destroyed, was comparatively neglected while he was absent at the head of the army; but on his return home, Lafayette, with a thoughtful appreciation of his old commander's fondness for field-sports, sent him a pack of French hounds of unusual size and speed, which Washington received with the liveliest expressions of delight, and which he used in favorable weather as often as every other day in the week, generally starting before suurise, and returning home to breakfast, made doubly appreciated by the exercise and excitement in the bracing morning air.
Occasionally the lady visitors of Mount Vernon, mounted on their palfreys, would go out as charming witnesses of the sport; and that they might gratify their wishes without endangering life or limb, Washington caused roads to be cut through various places in the woods, so that by "short cuts" the most eligible places to see the chase could be reached. On these occasions Washington was especially conspicuous; taller and finer mounted than any of his companions, he neither spared himself nor his generous steed, maintaining what seemed to be his inherited place, the lead, and at the death yielding to no man the honor of the brush.
An invitation to a fox-hunt, now, alas! some twenty years ago, was one of the first marked adventures of our Southern life. Our host was a most substantial planter and an accomplished gentleman. Besides possessing the best stud in nil the country round, he had a pack of hounds that was unsurpassed in all the valuable qualities of nose and speed. Roused from our bed before the day had fairly dawned, we reached the breakfast room to find it full of guests invited from the neighborhood, and all busily engaged in the agreeable task of discussing a warm and most substantial breakfast, over which the perfume of rich coffee, such as we only meet with in semi-tropical climes, predominated. It took but little observation to foresee that our new associates were all remarkable in their way, some for fine personal appearance, some for their classical and literary attainments, and all for their rough hunting experiences and fine social qualities. The meal dispatched, we proceeded to the lawn in front of the house, where we found a crowd of horses, and what a new-made acquaintance termed a " raft of dogs," the canines at our presence setting up the most unearthly yells, the older members extending their notes until they reached a cadence peculiar to "old