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230

TO ****

Believe it not—though lonely

Thy evening home may be ;
Though Beauty's bark can only

Float on a summer sea;
Though Time thy bloom is stealing

There's still beyond his art
The wild-flower wreath of feeling,

The sunbeam of the heart.

THE LOST HUNTER.

BY ALFRED B. STREET.

NUMBED by the piercing, freezing air,

And burthened by his game,
The Hunter, struggling with despair,

Dragged on his shivering frame;
The rifle he had shouldered late
Was trailed along, a weary weight,

His pouch was void of food, The hours were speeding in their flight, And soon the long, keen, winter night

Would wrap the solitude.

Oft did he stoop a listening ear,

Sweep round an anxious eye,-
No bark or ax-blow could he hear,

No human trace descry.
His sinuous path, by blazes, wound

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THE LOST HUNTER.

Among trunks grouped in myriads round ;

Through naked boughs, between
Whose tangled architecture, fraught
With many a shape grotesquely wrought,

The hemlock's spire was seen.

An antlered dweller of the wild

Had met his eager gaze,
And far his wandering steps beguiled

Within an unknown maze;
Stream, rock, and run-way, he had crossed
Unheeding, till the marks were lost

By which he used to roam;
And now, deep swamp and wild ravine,
And rugged mountain, were between

The Hunter and his home.

A dusky haze, which slow had crept

On high, now darkened there,
And a few snow-flakes fluttering swept

Athwart the thick gray air
Faster and faster, till between
The trunks and boughs, a mottled screen

Of glimmering motes was spread,
That ticked against each object round
With gentle and continuous sound

Like brook o'er pebbled bed.

THE LOST HUNTER.

233

The laurel tufts, that drooping hung

Close rolled around their stems,
And the sear beech leaves still that clung,

Were white with powdering gems.
But hark! afar a sullen moan
Swelled out to louder, deeper tone,

As surging near it passed,
And bursting with a roar, and shock
That made the groaning forest rock,

On rushed the winter blast.

As o'er, it whistled, shrieked, and hissed,

Caught by its swooping wings,
The snow was whirled to eddying mist,

Barbed, as it seemed, with stings;
And now 'twas swept with lightning flight
Above the loftiest hemlock's height

Like drifting smoke, and now
It hid the air with shooting clouds,
And robed the trees with circling shrouds,

Then dashed in heaps below.

Here, plunging in a billowy wreath,

There, clinging to a limb,
The suffering Hunter gasped for breath,

Brain reeled, and eye grew dim;
As though to whelm him in despair,

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THE LOST HUNTER.

Rapidly changed the black’ning air

To murkiest gloom of night,
Till nought was seen around-below
But falling flakes, and mantled snow

That gleamed in ghastly white.

At every blast an icy dart

Seemed through his nerves to fly,
The blood was freezing to his heart,

Thought whispered he must die.
The thundering tempest echoed death,
He felt it in his tightened breath ;

Spoil, rifle dropped, and slow
As the dread torpor crawling came
Along his staggering, stiff’ning frame,

He sunk upon the snow.

Reason forsook her shattered throne,

He deemed that summer hours
Again around him brightly shone

In sunshine, leaves, and flowers :
Again the fresh, green, forest sod,
Rifle in hand, he lightly trod,-

He heard the deer's low bleat,
Or couched within the shadowy nook,
He drank the crystal of the brook

That murmured at his feet.

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