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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV. 1876–79.

Central and Southern Africa: Cape Colony

The Lion-hunt

By Thomas Pringle (1789–1834)

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 Skirly-Cleugh, and blow loudly the bugle:

Call Slinger and Allie and Dikkop and Dugal;

And Gert, 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 friends! if our rifles prove true,

We ’ll soon make the spoiler his ravages rue.

Ho! the Hottentot boys have discovered his 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, through the gray shaggy glen,

By the wild-olive brake where the wolf has his den,

By mountain and forest, by fountain and vlei,

We have tracked him at length to the coverts of Kei.

Mark that black bushy mound where the bloodhounds are howling;

Hark! that hoarse sullen sound like the deep thunder growling;

’T is his lair,—’t is his voice!—from your saddles alight,

For the bold skelm-beast is preparing for fight.

Leave the horses behind, and be still every man;

Let the Mullers and Rennie advance in the van;

Keep fast in a clump;—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 crouches—ay! now we ’ll have 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! ’t is 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.

Come, off with his hide. Why, his head ’s like a bull’s

(To the wise folks we ’ll send it who lecture on skulls):

He has shown a good pluck, too,—and, after we dine,

We ’ll drink to his dirge, boys, a flask of good wine.