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to promise ; but that none hath by more studious ways endeavoured, and with more unwcaried spirit that none shall, that I dare almost aver of myself, as far as life and free leisure will extend ; and that the land had once enfranchised herself from this impertinent yoke of prelacy, under whose inquisitorious and tyrannical duncery no free and splendid wit can flourish. Neither do I think it shame to covenant with any knowing reader, that for some few years yet I may go on trust with him toward the payment of whom I am now indebted, as being a work not to be raised from the heat of youth, or the vapours of wine ; like that which flows at waste from the pen of some vulgar amorist, or the trencher-fury of a rhyming parasite; nor to be obtained by the invocation of dame Memory and her syren. daughters ; but by devout prayer to that eternal Spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases. To this must be added industrious and select reading, steady observation, insight into all seemly and generous arts and affairs ; till which in some measure be compassed, at mine own peril and cost, I refuse not to sustain this expectation from as many as are not loth to hazard so much credulity upon the best pledges that I can give them. Although it nothing content me to have disclosed thus much beforehand, but that I trust hereby to make it manifest with what small willingness I endure to interrupt tho pursuit of no less hopes than these, and leave a calm and pleasing solitariness, fed with cheerful and confident thoughts, to embark in a troubled sea of noises and hoarse disputes ; from beholding the bright countenance of truth in the quiet and still air of delightful studies, to come into the dim reflection of hollow antiquities sold by the seeming bulk, and there be fain to club quotations with men whose learning and belief lies in marginal stuffings ; who when they have, like good sumpters laid you down their horse-load of citations and fathers at your door, with a rhapsody of who and who were bishops here or there, you may take off their pack-saddles, their day's work is done, and episcopacy, as they think, stoutly vindicated. Let any gentle apprehension that can distinguish learned pains from unlearned drudgery, imagine what pleasure or profoundness can be in this, or what honour to deal against such adversaries. But were it the meanest under-service, if God, by his secretary, conscience, enjoin it, it were sad for me if I should draw back ; for me especially, now when all men offer their aid to help, ease, and lighten the difficult labours of the church, to whose service, by the intentions of my parents and friends, I was destined of a child, and in mine own resolutions, till coming to some maturity of years, and perceiving what tyranny had invaded the church, that he who would take orders, must subscribe slave, and take an oath withal; which unless he took with a conscience that would retch, he must either strait perjure, or split his faith; I thought it better to prefer a blameless silence, before the sacred office of speaking, bought and begun with servitude and forswearing. Howsoever, thus church-outed by the prelates, hence may appear the right I have to meddle in these matters; as before the necessity and constraint appeared.
.201—HABITS OF THE RED DEER.
SCROPE. [The following interesting contribution to Natural History is from a spiritea and agreeable volume, published in 1838—" The Art of Deer Stalking,' by W. Scrope, Esq.]
The red deer is not a very hardy animal; he does not by choice subsist on coarse food, but eats close, like a sheep. With his body weakened and wasted during the cutting season in the autumn, exposed to constant anxiety and irritation, engaged in continual combats, he feels all the rigours of winter approaching before he has cime to recruit his strength :the snow storm comes on, and the bitter blast drives
him from the mountains. Subdued by hunger, he wanders to the solitary shielings of the shepherds; and will sometimes follow them through the snow, with irresolute steps, as they are carrying the provender to the sheep. He falls, perhaps, into moss pits and mountain tarns, whilst in quest of decayed water plants, where he perishes prematurely from utter inability to extricate himself. Many, again, who escape starvation, feed too greedily on coarse herbage at the first approach of open weather, which produces a murrain amongst them, not unlike the rot in sheep, of which they frequently die. Thus, natural causes, inseparable from the condition of deer in a northern climate, and on a churlish soil unsheltered by woods, conspire to reduce these animals to so feeble a state, that the short summer which follows is wholly insufficient to bring them to the size they are capable of attaining under better management.
If we look at the difference in size and weight of two three-year old beasts, the one belonging to a good, and the other to a bad farmer, we shall find that difference to amount to nearly double. The first animal is well fed for the sake of the calf, both in winter and summer; and the last, from insufficient keep, loses in winter what it has gained in summer, and requires double the food in the succeeding season to restore it to what it was at the commencement of winter. Thus it is with the deer.
About the end of September, and the first week in October, the harts swell in their necks, have a ruff of long wiry hair about them, and are drawn up in their bodies like greyhounds. They now roll restlessly in the peat pools till they become almost black with mire, and feed chiefly on a light coloured moss, that grows on the round tops of hills, so that they do not differ so entirely from the rein-deer in their food as some naturalists have imagined.
In this state of rutting they are rank, and wholly unfit for the table. Such deer a good sportsman never fires at; but many may be found at this time, not so forward, but perfectly good; and they are, of course, easily distinguished. This is a very wild and picturesque season. The harts are hcard roaring all over the forest, and are engaged in savage conflicts with each other, which sometimes terminate fatally. When a master hart has collected a number of hinds, another will endeavour to take them from him: they fight till one of them, feeling himself worsted, will run in circles round the hinds, being unwilling to leave them: the other pursues, and when he touches the fugitive with the points of his horns, the animal thus gored either bounds suddenly on one side, and then turns and faces him, or will dash off to the right or the left, and at once give up the contest. The conflict, however, generally continues a considerable time; and nothing can be more entertaining than to witness, as I have done, the varied successes and address of the combatants. It is a sort of wild just, in the presence of the dames, who, as of old, bestow their favours on the most valiant.
A conflict of this savage nature, which happened in one of the Duke of Gordon's forests, was fatal to both of the combatants. Two large harts, after a furious and deadly thrust, had entangled their horns so firmly together that they were inextricable, and the victor remained with the vanquished. In this situation they were discovered by the forester, who killed the survivor, whilst he was yet struggling to release himself from his dead antagonist. The horns remain at Gordon Castle, still locked together as they were found. Mezentius himself never attached the dead body to the living one in a firmer manner.
Deer, except in certain embarassed situations, always run up vind ; and so strongly is this instinct implanted in them, that if you catch a calf, be it ever so young, and turn it down wind, it will immediately face round and go in the opposite direction. Thus they go forward over hill-tops and unexplored ground in perfect security, for they can smell the taint in the air at an almost incredible distance. On this account they are fond of lying in open corries, where the swells of winds come occasionally from all quarters.
I have said that deer go up wind, but by clever management, and employing men to give them their wind, (these men being concealed from their view.) they may be driven down it; and in certain cases they may easily be sent, by a side wind, towards that part of the forest which they consider as their sanctuary.
It is to be noted that on the hill-side the largest harts lie at the bottom of the parcel, and the smaller ones above; indeed, these fine fellows seem to think themselves privileged to enjoy their ease, and impose the duty of keeping guard upon the hinds, and upon their juniors. In the performance of this task, the hinds are always the most vigilant, and when deer are driven they almost always take the lead. When, however, the herd is strongly beset on all sides, and great boldness and decision are required, you shall see the master hart come forward courageously, like a great leader as he is, and, with his confiding band, force his way through all obstacles. In ordinary cases, however, he is of a most ungallant and selfish disposition ; for, when he apprehends danger from the rifle, he will rake away the hinds with his horns, and get in the midst of them, keeping his antlers as low as possible.
There is no animal more shy or solitary by nature than the red deer. He takes the note of alarm from every living thing on the moor-all seem to be his sentinels. The sudden start of any animal, the springing of a moor-fowl, the complaining note of a plover, or of the smallest bird in distress, will set him off in an instant. He is always most timid when he does not see his adversary, for then he suspects an ambush. If, on the contrary, he has him in full view, he is as cool and circumspect as possible ; he then watches him most acutely, endeavours to discover his intention, and takes the best possible method to defeat it. In this case, he is never in a hurry or confused, but repeatedly stops and watches his disturber's motions; and when at length he does take his measure, it is a most decisive one : a whole herd will sometimes force their way at the very point where the drivers are the most numerous and where there are no rifles ; so that I have seen the hillmen fling their sticks at them, while they have raced away without a shot being fired.
When a stag is closely pursued by dogs, and feels that he cannot escape from them, he flies to the best position he can, and defends himself to the last extremity. This is called going to bay. If he is badly wounded, or very much over-matched in speed, he has little choice of ground; but if he finds himself stout in the chase. and is pursued in his native mountains, he will select the most defensible spot has it in his power to reach ; and woe be unto the dog that approaches him ! His instinct always leads him to the rivers, where his long legs givpadvantage over the deer-hounds. Firmly he holds his position, powerless about him, and would die from cold and fatigue before the least impression on him. Sometimes he will stand of the river, making a most majestic appearance found that the spot on which he stands is not situation he takes such a sweep with his antler pack of the most powerful lurchers that were He is secure from all but man, and the ri may pull him down when running, but ng
The deer, like many other animals, seems to foresee every change of weather : at the approach of a storm they leave the higher hills, and descend to the low grounds; sometimes even two days before the change takes place. Again, at the approach of a thaw, they leave the low grounds and go to the mountains by a similar anticipation of change. They never perish in snow drifts, like sheep, since they do not shelter themselves in hollows, but keep the bare ground, and eat the tops of the heather.
One would imagine that in a severe storm many would perish by avalanches. But, during the long period of sixty years, Mr. John Crerer remembers but two accidents of this nature. These were in Glen Mark : eleven were killed by one fall, and twenty-one by another : the snow in its descent carried the deer along with it into the glen and across the burn, and rolled up a little way on the opposite brae, where the animals were smothered.
Harts are excellent swimmers, and will pass from island to island in quest of hinds or change of food. It is asserted that the rear hart in swimming rests his head on the croup of the one before him; and that all follow in the same manner.
When a herd of deer are driven, they follow each other in a line; so that when they cross the stalker it is customary for him to be quiet, and suffer the leaders to pass before he raises his rifle. If he were to fire at the first that appeared, he would probably turn the whole of them; or if he were to run forward injudiciously after a few had passed, the remainder, instead of following the others in a direct line, would not cross him except under particular circumstances and dispositions of ground, but would bear off an end, and join the others afterwards. It must be remarked, however, that when deer are hard pressed by a dog, they run in a compact mass, the tail ones endeavouring to wedge themselves into it. They will also run in this manner when pressed by drivers on the open moor. But they are sensible that they could not pass the narrow oblique paths that are trodden out by them in the precipitous and stony parts of the mountain, or encounter the many obstructions of rock, river, and precipice, that rugged nature is continually opposing to them, in any other manner than in rank and file. If they did, they must separate, and lose the wind, which is not their system.
They do not run well up hill when fat, but they will beat any dog in such oblique paths as I have mentioned. The hardness and sharp edges of their hoofs gives them great tenacity, and prevents them suffering from the stones ; whilst a dog, having no fence against injury, is obliged to slacken his pace.
The bone also of a deer's foot is small and particularly hard ; it is this peculiar construction which renders the animal as strong as he is fleet. The support and strength of the joints of the feet of all aniraal bodies, according to Sir E, Home, depends less upon their own ligaments than upon the action of the muscles whose tendons pass over them. “This fact," he says, “was strongly impressed on my mind in the early part of my medical education, by seeing a deer which leaped over the highest fences, and the joints of whose feet, when examined, were as rigid, in every other direction but that of their motion, as the bone itself ; but when the tendon Achilles, which passed over the joint, was divided, with a view to keep the animal from running away, the foot could readily be moved in any direction, the oint no longer having the smallest firmness."
262.-SEA-SONGS. Our Sea-Songs have a character of their own, which is identical with the character of a sea-girt people. It is not mere fancy to believe that there is something peculiar in that character. The extent and variety of these songs renders a small selection quite inadequate to exhibit their freshness, their heartiness, their thorough knowledge of a sailor's life.
One of the most popular, as well as the most refined of these songs, is the famous ballad of Gay. The air of this ballad has been attributed to Handel; but it was the composition of Leveridge, a bass-singer, who also composed “The Roast Beef of Old England.'
The streamers waving in the wind,
“Oh! where shall I my true love find ?
If my sweet William sail among the crew.”
Rock'd with the billows to and fro,
He sigh'd and cast his eyes below;
Shuts close his pinions to his breast,
And drops at once into her nest.
My vows shall ever true remain !
We only part to meet again.
Who tempt with doubt thy constant mind;
n every port a mistress find
Thine eyes are seen in diamonds bright
Thy skin is ivory so white;
Let not my pretty Susan mourn :
William shall to his dear roturn:
The sails their swelling bosom spread;
They kiss'd-she sighd-he hung his head