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EPITAPH ON A HARE. Haze lies, whom hound did ne'er puma
Nor swifter greyhound follow, Whose foot ne'er tainted morning dew,
Nor ear heard huntsman's halloo. Old Tiney, surliest of his kind,
Who, nursed with tender care, And to domestic bounds confined,
Was still a wild Jack-hare. Though duly from my hand he took
His pittance every night, He did it with a jealous look,
And, when he could, would bite. His diet was of wheaten bread,
And milk, and oats, and straw;
With sand to scour his maw.
On pippins' russet peel,
Sliced carrot pleased him well
Whereon he loved to bound,
And swing his rump around.
For then he lost his fear,
Or when a storm drew near.
He thus saw steal away,
And every night at play.
For he would oft beguile
And force me to a smile.
But now beneath his walnut shade
He finds his long last home,
Till gentler Puss shall come.
From which no care can save,
Must soon partake his grave.
Hic etiam jacet,
Et moriar ego.
The following account of the treatment of his Hares
Ing leaner every day, should offer it to my accept ance. I was willing enough to take the prisoner under my protection, perceiving that, in the manage ment of such an animal, and in the attempt to tame it, I should find just that sort of employment which my case required. t was soon known among the neighbours that I was pleased with the present; and the consequence was, that in a short time I had as many leverets offered to me as would have stocked a paddock. I undertook the care of three, which it is necessary that I should here distinguish by the names I gave them—Puss, Tiney, and Bess. Not: withstanding the two feminine appellatives, I must inform you that they were all males. Immediately commencing carpenter, I built them houses to sleep in; each had a separate apartment, so contrived that their ordure would pass through the bottom of it; an earthen pan placed under each received whatsoever fell, which being duly emptied and washed, they were thus kept perfectly sweet and clean. In the day time they had the range of a hall, and at night retired each to his own bed, never intruding into that of another.
Puss grew presently familiar, would leap into my lap, raise himself upon his hinder feet, and bite the hair from my temples. He would suffer me to take him up, and carry him about in my arms, and has more than once fallen fast asleep upon my knee. He was ill three days, during which time I nursed him, and kept him apart from his fellows, that they might not molest him (for, like many other wild animals, they persecute one of their own species that is sick), and by constant care, and trying him with a variety of herbs, restored him to perfect health. No creature could be more grateful than my patient after his recovery; a sentiment which he most significantly expressed by licking my hand, first the back of it, then the palm, then every finger separately, then between all the fingers, as if anxious to leave no part of it unsaluted ; a ceremony which he never per formed but once again upon a similar occasion Pinding him extremely tractable, I made it my cus tom to carry him always after breakfast into the garden, where he hid himself generally under the leaves of a cucumber vine, sleeping or chewing the cud till evening: in the leaves also of that vine he found a favourite repast. I had not long habituated him to this taste of liberty, before he began to be impatient for the return of the time when he might enjoy it. He would invite me to the garden by drumming upon my knee, and by a look of such ex pression, as it was not possible to misinterpret. 11 this rhetoric did not immediately succeed, he would take the skirt of my coat between his teeth, and pull at it with all his force. Thus Puss might be said to be perfectly tamed, the shyness of his nature was done away, and on the whole it was visible by many symptoms, which I have not room to enumerate, that he was happier in human society, than when shut up with his natural companions.
Not so Tiney : upon him the kindest treatment had not the least effect. He too was sick, and in his sick. ness had an equal share of my attention; but if, after his recovery, I took the liberty to stroke him, he would grunt, strike with his fore-feet, spring for. ward, and bite. He was, however, very entertaining in his way; even his surliness was matter of mirth; and in his play he preserved such an air of gravity, and performed his feats with such a solemnity of manner, that in him too I had an agreeable com. panion.
Bess, who died soon after ae was full grown, and whose death was occasioned by his being turned into his box, which had been washed, while it was yet damp, was a hare of great humour and drollery, Puss was tamed by gentle usage ; Tiney was not to be tamed at all; and Bess had a courage and con. fidence that made him tame from the beginning. I always admitted them into the parlour after supper, when, the carpet affording their feet a firm hold, they would frisk, and bound, and play a thousand gambols, in which Bess, being remarkably strong and fearless, was always superior to the rest, and proved himself the Vestris of the party. One even ing the cat, being in the room, had the hardiness to pat Bess upon the cheek, an indignity which he resented by drumming upon her back with such violence, that the cat was happy to escape from under his paws, and hide herself.
I describe these animals as having each a character of his own. Such they were in fact, and their countenances were so expressive of that character, that, when I looked only on the face of either, I imme diately knew which it was. It is said, that a shepherd, however numerous his flock, soon becomes so familiar with their features, that he can, by that indication only, distinguish each from all the rest ; and yet to a common observer, the difference is hardly perceptible. I doubt not that the same discrimination in the cast of countenances would be discoverable in hares, and am persuaded that among a thousand of them, no two could be found exactly similar: a circumstance little suspected by those who have not had an opportunity to observe it. These creatures have a singular sagacity in discovering the minutest alteration that is made in the place to which they are accustomed, and instantly apply their nose to the examination of a new object. A small hole being burnt in the carpet, it was mended with a patch, and that patch in a moment underwent the strictest scrutiny. They seem too to be very much directed by the smell in the choice of their favourites : to some persons, though they saw them daily, they could never be reconciled, and would even scream when they attempted to touch tnem ; but a miller coming in engaged their affections at once ; his powdered coat had charms that were irresistible. It is po wonder that my intimate acquaintance with these specimens of the kind bas taught me to hold the sportsman's amusement in ab. horrence ; he little knows what amiable creatures he persecutes, of what gratitude they are capable, how cheerful they are in their spirits, what enjoyment they have of life, and that, impressed as they seem with a peculiar dread of man, it is only because man gives them peculiar cause for it.