Explores the ground beneath ; 'till hither led
By chance, he startles at my dang’rous form,
Flaps his wide wings, and quickly soars aloft.
Through wither'd grass and ferns the whitethroat creeps,
Oft stopping to inhale the scented air
the foot or licht
T With eager nose; then fast, with foot as light
As falling leaf, he nimbly winds away.' p. 87-89. The book closes with the description of a woodland sunset, without omitting the circumstances appropriate to the author's vocation.
• Thus through the winding shades as slow I pass,
The pheasant cockets, ere he seeks in sleep
To close his brilliant eye, whilst whistling sharp
In her descending flight his mate responds.' p. 92. The Fourth Book, which treats of Woodcock Shooting, has very considerable merit. The winter landscape is prettily sketched, and the adventures of the woodcock himself pursued with considerable feeling.
Ill fares it with him then,
On stormy seas mid-way surpris'd: no land
Its swelling breast presents, where safe reclin'd
His panting heart might find a short repose;
But wide around the hoarse-resounding seas
Meets his dim eye. Should some tall ship appear
High bounding o'er the waves, urg'd by despair,
He seeks the rocking masts, and throws him down
Amid the twisted cordage :--thence repell’d,
If instant blows deprive him not of life,
He flutters weakly on, and drops at last,
Helpless and flound'ring, in the whit’ning surge.
Yet not the perils of th' aerial way,
Nor varied death, that hovers on the shore
From guns, and nets, and hairy springes, serve
The fruitful race t'extirpate. When the year
Struggles to break from winter's rough embrace,
And with a livelier vesture clothe the earth,
The woodcock musters on the sea-beat shore
His bands decreas'd. On some propitious day
He springs aloft, and through the pathless air,
With course unerring, seeks his native shores.
Perchance on some Norwegian forest vast,
Beneath colossal pines and mingl'd firs,
Where murm’ring streams with fruitful current, wind
Again their wonted course, his old abode,
He plumes his spotted wing anew, and gives
His yielding heart to love : Fearless he roves
Amidst his feather's family, 'till Fate