The Hunter Death

I am a bold hunter, — my hunt is wide;
I mount in the morning, and swift I ride;
O'er vale, o'er hill, I speed away,
And pause not, rest not, through the long, long day.

My string is of sinew, my bow is long,
And sharp is my arrow, my arm is strong:
I point my shaft with deadly aim;
It whizzes, pierces, — then it burns like flame.

And I have a carabine slung on my back, —
It rings through the forest with startling crack;
Like thunder-crash it echoes round,
And, jarring, quivering, 'neath it shakes the ground.

And sure is the foot of my coal-black steed;
Ever onward he rushes with lightning speed:
He snuffs in every wind the prey,
Then, high exulting, wildly bursts away.

And keen is the scent of my well-trained pack;
Through wood and through thicket they keep the track;
The game his subtlest art may try, —
It aids not, boots not, quick the hounds are by.

I sound on my clanging horn his knell,
And fiercely they answer with howl and yell:
They plunge through swamp, they dash through flood,
Yet wilder rages, hot, their thirst for blood.

One hound is jet-black, and I call him War;
And his strong limbs are spotted with wound and scar;
His eye is red, like coal its fire,
And ever sleepless burns his demon ire.

Another close follows with hoarser din,
Coarse-featured and shaggy, — I call him Sin:
Bloodshot his eye, — his froth is blue,
And drips its venom thick, like poison dew.

Another is sallow, and gaunt of limb;
His lips are pale, and his eye is dim:
I call him Famine, — but he is strong,
And swift, yet silent, sweeps, like night, along.

So with twanging bow, and with clanging horn,
To dusk of night, from break of morn,
On coal-black steed, I speed away,
And pause not, rest not, through the long, long day.
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