Thomas Pringle

(5 January 1789 – 5 December 1834 / Blaiklaw)

The Lion Hunt


Mount -- mount for the hunting -- with musket and spear!
Call our friends to the field -- for the Lion is near!
Call Arend and Ekhard and Groepe to the spoor;
Call Muller and Coetzer and Lucas Van Vuur.

Ride up Eildon-Cleugh, and blow loudly the bugle:
Call Slinger and Allie and Dikkop and Dugal;
And George with the elephant-gun on his shoulder --
In a perilous pinch none is better or bolder.

In the gorge of the glen lie the bones of my steed,
And the hoofs of a heifer of fatherland's breed:
But mount, my brave boys! if our rifles prove true,
We'll soon make the spoiler his ravages rue.

Ho! the Hottentot lads have discovered the track --
To his den in the desert we'll follow him back;
But tighten your girths, and look well to your flints,
For heavy and fresh are the villain's foot-prints.

Through the rough rocky kloof into grey Huntly-Glen,
Past the wild-olive clump where the wolf has his den,
By the black-eagle's rock at the foot of the fell,
We have tracked him at length to the buffalo's well.

Now mark yonder brake where the blood-hounds are howling;
And hark that hoarse sound -- like the deep thunder growling;
'Tis his lair -- 'tis his voice! -- from your saddles alight;
He's at bay in the brushwood preparing for fight.

Leave the horses behind -- and be still every man:
Let the Mullers and Rennies advance in the van:
Keep fast in your ranks; -- by the yell of yon hound,
The savage, I guess, will be out -- with a bound.

He comes! the tall jungle before him loud crashing,
His mane bristled fiercely, his fiery eyes flashing;
With a roar of disdain, he leaps forth in his wrath,
To challenge the foe that dare 'leaguer his path.

He couches -- ay now we'll see mischief, I dread:
Quick -- level your rifles -- and aim at his head:
Thrust forward the spears, and unsheath every knife --
St. George! he's upon us! -- Now, fire, lads, for life!

He's wounded -- but yet he'll draw blood ere he falls --
Ha! under his paw see Bezuidenhout sprawls --
Now Diederik! Christian! right in the brain
Plant each man his bullet -- Hurra! he is slain!

Bezuidenhout -- up man! -- 'tis only a scratch --
(You were always a scamp, and have met with your match!)
What a glorious lion! -- what sinews -- what claws --
And seven-feet-ten from the rump to the jaws!

His hide, with the paws and the bones of his skull,
With the spoils of the leopard and buffalo bull,
We'll send to Sir Walter. -- Now, boys, let us dine,
And talk of our deeds o'er a flask of old wine.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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