The Dying Hunter To His Dog
Lie down -- lie down! -- my noble hound,
That joyful bark give o'er;
It wakes the lonely echoes round,
But rouses me no more --
Thy lifted ears, thy swelling chest,
Thy eyes so keenly bright,
No longer kindle in my breast
The thrill of fierce delight;
When following thee on foaming steed
My eager soul outstripped thy speed --
Lie down -- lie down -- my faithful hound!
And watch this night by me,
For thee again the horn shall sound
By mountain, stream, and tree;
And thou along the forest glade,
Shall track the flying deer
When cold and silent, I am laid
In chill oblivion here.
Another voice shall cheer thee on,
And glory when the chase is won.
Lie down -- lie down! -- my gallant hound!
Thy master's life is sped;
Go -- couch thee on the dewy ground --
'Tis thine to watch the dead.
But when the blush of early day
Is kindling up the sky,
Then speed thee, faithful friend, away,
And to thy mistress hie;
And guide her to this lonely spot,
Though my closed eyes behold her not --
Lie down -- lie down! -- my trusty hound!
Death comes, and we must part --
In my dull ear strange murmurs sound --
More faintly throbs my heart;
The many twinkling lights of heaven
Scarce glimmer in the blue --
Chill round me falls the breath of even,
Cold on my brow the dew;
Earth, stars, and heavens, are lost to sight --
The chase is o'er! -- brave friend, good night! --
'Tis merry to hear, at evening time,
By the blazing hearth the sleigh-bells chime;
To know the bounding steeds bring near
The loved one to our bosoms dear.
Ah, lightly we spring the fire to raise,
Till the rafters glow with the ruddy blaze;
Those merry sleigh-bells, our hearts keep time
Responsive to their fairy chime.
Ding-dong, ding-dong, o'er vale and hill,
Their welcome notes are trembling still.
'Tis he, and blithely the gay bells sound,
As his sleigh glides over the frozen ground;
Hark! He has pass'd the dark pine wood,
He crosses now the ice-bound flood,
And hails the light at the open door
That tells his toilsome journey's o'er.
The merry sleigh-bells! My fond heart swells
And trobs to hear the welcome bells;
Ding-dong, ding-dong, o'er ice and snow,
A voice of gladness, on they go.
Our hut is small, and rude our cheer,
But love has spread the banquet here;
And childhood springs to be caress'd
By our beloved and welcome guest.
With a smiling brow his tale he tells,
The urchins ring the merry sleigh-bells;
The merry sleigh-bells, with shout and song
They drag the noisy string along;
Ding-dong, ding-dong, the father's come
The gay bells ring his welcome home.
From the cedar swamp the gaunt wolves howl,
From the oak loud whoops the felon owl;
The snow-storm sweeps in thunder past,
The forest creaks beneath the blast;
No more I list, with boding fear,
The sleigh-bells distant chime to hear.
The merry sleigh-bells with soothing power
Shed gladness on the evening hour.
Ding-dong, ding-dong, what rapture swells
The music of those joyous bells!