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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt 1840–1922

The Old Squire


I LIKE the hunting of the hare

Better than that of the fox;

I like the joyous morning air,

And the crowing of the cocks.

I like the calm of the early fields,

The ducks asleep by the lake,

The quiet hour which Nature yields

Before mankind is awake.

I like the pheasants and feeding things

Of the unsuspicious morn;

I like the flap of the wood-pigeon’s wings

As she rises from the corn.

I like the blackbird’s shriek, and his rush

From the turnips as I pass by,

And the partridge hiding her head in a bush,

For her young ones cannot fly.

I like these things, and I like to ride,

When all the world is in bed,

To the top of the hill where the sky grows wide,

And where the sun grows red.

The beagles at my horse heels trot

In silence after me;

There ’s Ruby, Roger, Diamond, Dot,

Old Slut and Margery,—

A score of names well used, and dear,

The names my childhood knew;

The horn, with which I rouse their cheer,

Is the horn my father blew.

I like the hunting of the hare

Better than that of the fox;

The new world still is all less fair

Than the old world it mocks.

I covet not a wider range

Than these dear manors give;

I take my pleasures without change,

And as I lived I live.

I leave my neighbors to their thought;

My choice it is, and pride,

On my own lands to find my sport,

In my own fields to ride.

The hare herself no better loves

The field where she was bred,

Than I the habit of these groves,

My own inherited.

I know my quarries every one,

The meuse where she sits low;

The road she chose to-day was run

A hundred years ago.

The lags, the gills, the forest ways,

The hedgerows one and all,

These are the kingdoms of my chase,

And bounded by my wall;

Nor has the world a better thing,

Though one should search it round,

Than thus to live one’s own sole king,

Upon one’s own sole ground.

I like the hunting of the hare;

It brings me, day by day,

The memory of old days as fair,

With dead men passed away.

To these, as homeward still I ply

And pass the churchyard gate,

Where all are laid as I must lie,

I stop and raise my hat.

I like the hunting of the hare;

New sports I hold in scorn.

I like to be as my fathers were,

In the days e’er I was born.