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returned upon

times, and been put up again as often, came still nearer to the place where she was at first started. The dogs pursued her, and these were followed by the jolly knight, who rode upon a white gelding, encompassed by his 5 tenants and servants, and cheering his hounds with all

the gayety of five and twenty. One of the sportsmen rode up to me, and told me that he was sure the chase was almost at an end, because the old dogs, which had

hitherto lain behind, now headed the pack. The fellow 10 was in the right. Our hare took a large field just under

us, followed by the full cry in view. I must confess the brightness of the weather, the cheerfulness of every thing around me, the chiding of the hounds, which was

in a double echo from two neighbouring 15 hills, with the hallooing of the sportsmen, and the sound

ing of the horn, lifted my spirits into a most lively pleasure, which I freely indulged because I was sure it was innocent. If I was under any concern, it was on

account of the poor hare, that was now quite spent, and 20 almost within the reach of her enemies; when the hunts

man getting forward, threw down his pole before the dogs. They were now within eight yards of that game which they had been pursuing for almost as many hours;

yet on the signal before mentioned they all made a sud25 den stand, and though they continued opening as much

as before, durst not once attempt to pass beyond the pole. At the same time Sir Roger rode forward, and alighting, took up the hare in his arms; which he soon

after delivered up to one of his servants with an order, 30 if she could be kept alive, to let her go in his great

orchard ; where it seems he has several of these prison

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ers of war, who live together in a very comfortable captivity. I was highly pleased to see the discipline of the pack, and the good-nature of the knight, who could not find in his heart to murder a creature that had given him so much diversion.

5 As we were returning home, I remembered that Monsieur Paschal, in his most excellent discourse on the misery of man, tells us, that all our endeavours after greatness proceed from nothing but a desire of being surrounded by a multitude of persons and affairs that 10 may hinder us from looking into ourselves, which is a view we cannot bear. He afterwards goes on to show that our love of sports comes from the same reason, and is particularly severe upon hunting. “What,” says he, “ unless it be to drown thought, can make men throw 15 away so much time and pains upon a silly animal, which they might buy cheaper in the market?” The foregoing reflexion is certainly just, when a man suffers his whole mind to be drawn into his sports, and altogether loses himself in the woods; but does not affect 20 those who propose a far more laudable end from this exercise, I mean the preservation of health, and keeping all the organs of the soul in a condition to execute her orders. Had that incomparable person, whom I last quoted, been a little more indulgent to himself in this 25 point, the world might probably have enjoyed him much longer; whereas through too great an application to his studies in his youth, he contracted that ill habit of body, which, after a tedious sickness, carried him off in the fortieth

year of his age; and the whole history we have 30 of his life till that time, is but one continued account of

the behaviour of a noble soul struggling under innumerable pains and distempers.

For my own part, I intend to hunt twice a week during my stay with Sir Roger; and shall prescribe the 5 moderate use of this exercise to all my country friends, as the best kind of physic for mending a bad constitution, and preserving a good one.

I cannot do this better, than in the following lines out of Mr. Dryden :


“ The first physicians by debauch were made;

Excess began, and Sloth sustains the trade.
By chase our long-liv'd fathers earn’d their food;
Toil strung the nerves, and purified the blood;
But we their sons, a pamper'd race of men,
Are dwindled down to threescore years and ten.
Better to hunt in fields for health unbought,
Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught.
The wise for cure on exercise depend:
God never made his work for man to mend."



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