ELEPHANT- HUNTING a Poem
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ELEPHANT- HUNTING a Poem

ELEPHANT- HUNTING a Poem




      

ELEPHANT- HUNTING a Poem


ELEPHANT- HUNTING

Long journeying over Afric's waste,
Fair, flowery scenes bloom'd round our way;
Now thro' wild gardens, Eden-like,
And tree-embower'd, our pathway lay;
Where unknown flowers and nameless plants
With flaunting colors pleas'd the eye,
And placid lakes and streams immense
Glisten'd and smil'd beneath the sky,
The baobob its towering mass
Of foliage flutter'd overhead,
The moshano its pomp of leaves
With grace arboreal o'er us spread;
The tall palmyra, queen of trees,
Like minaret rais'd its spires around,
Which elephants delight to sway,
And shake its ripe seeds to the ground;
The mimosa, with sweet-gum buds,
The stately giraffes love to crop;
The banyans, each o'er acres spread,
Whose trailing shoots they earthward drop, --
All these, and others numberless,
Wide o'er the verdurous pastures spring,
Laden with fruits, where sweet birds sing,
And blossoms smile, and wild vines cling.

Here vast, innumerous flocks and herds
Of Afric forests rove and range;
From grove to grove, from pool to pool,
Their endless feeding-places change;
Feed on the dry, serrated grass
That only in the desert grows;
The camel-thorn, with prickly-hedge,
The cactus, that with crimson glows;
Feed on the juicy lotus plant,
On bulb and tubers of the ground,
And on the sweet aquatic shrubs
By marshy pool and streamlets found.

The lion by the herdsman's kraal
Prowls all the night with hollow roar,
And near the skulking jackals stalk,
And carrion-vultures o'er him spar;
In fastness of the deepest wood,
In mid-day heats, the elephant,
Brushing the flies with flapping ear,
Stands motionless in secret haunt;
But when the evening shades o'erspread
He seeks some hollow with its pool,
Some watercourse, retired and lone,
Far wading in its currents cool,
And there with spouting trunk doth lave
His dusky shoulders with the wave.

The elephant—the forest lord,—
Mightiest of all the multitude
Of vast gregarious flocks that roam
O'er nature's pasture-plain and wood,
Feareth no challenge, save, perchance,
The lion's hoarse and hollow roar,
Or the loud halloo when the tribes
Of Caffres o'er the desert pour.

Ranging the waste, he snaps the trees
As on his ponderous route he heaves,
Or crops with a fastidious taste
The tender buds and spicy leaves;
He plucks the sweet fruit from the branch;
With ivory tusk he digs the ground,
Feeding on tubers, bulbous roots,
That in the forest-land are found,
Or finds his most delicious spoil
Where melons ripen o'er the soil.

A hunter from the Northern land
Goes forth to dare in fierce career
The great game, arm'd with deadlier steel
Than Bechuanan's simple spear,
And dauntless rides forth to the field,
Follow'd by tribes with bow and shield,
Day after day, with hound and horse
And troops of native spears to aid,
He follows the unsparing chase,
In bloody, devastating raid.
Night after night, in densest shade,
He watches by some darksome pool
The haunt of forest animals,
Seeking their nightly fountains cooh
Hid in his screen of bough and leaf,
He watches through the starlit night,
Hard by the water's plashy brink,
Scarce seen in the uncertain light;
At first, the sleeping night is still,
No murmur stirs the calm profound,
The palm-trees droop their drowsy crowns,
The song-birds utter forth no sound;
The guinea-fowl's discordant note
No longer on the air doth float;
All silent in his leafy nest
The cooing pigeon takes his rest.

But yet the hunter sees the sign
Of great game all around the spot:
The spoor of roaming elephant
O'erspreads the solitary grot:
And well he knows the monster huge
Must come the cooling lymph to taste,
Coming from weary miles of wood
To seek his fountain of the waste,
As whales o'er seas remotest roam
From pole to pole, from shore to shore,
So elephants a continent
In restless wanderings explore.

The gravel by his trunk is stirr'd,
The trees about are snapt and torn,
The hunter sees the frequent dint
Of rhinoceros's horn.
Soon comes the giant Borele,
With ivory horn and snorting roar;
Soon comes the towering elephant,
To bend the darkling fountain o'er;
And quick the volleying rifles dart
The leaden bolt to brain and heart!


McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.

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