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Roar of the African Lion

by Isaac McLellan

This noble monarch of the Afric waste
Meets with no rival to contest his reign,
With his surpassing strength and agile stride
He can o'er come each creature of the plain.
He dashes to the earth the tall giraffe
Who towers above the summits of the woods;
He tracks the herds of shaggy buffaloes,
And slays the bull in solitudes;
He preys on nimble flocks of antelopes,
The pallah, oryx, quagga and wild-beest.
O'ertakes the blesbok in its swiftest flight,
On zebra and the eland makes his feast.

How grand, how thunderous his savage roar!
First he emits a dull, far-echoing moan
That ends at times with faintly-whispered sighs.
At other times he startles all the herds
With deep-toned roar and wild, tempestuous cries
That sudden sink away in muffled tone,
Like distant thunder fading in the skies.

His roar is loudest in cold, frosty nights
When two troops meet beside a fountain's flow;
Then each troop sounds a bold, defiant roar,
Each seeking to out-roar the rival foe.
Those grand, nocturnal concerts fill the waste
With universal terror, yet they thrill,
With transport the brave hunter's fearless heart,
Who lies there close ambush'd, resolute to kill;
A hunter in the glooms of forests hid,
In the dead hour of midnight, all alone;
Ensconced in thicket at the fountain's edge,
Listing the awful roar, or hollow moan.

The lions roar incessant in the night,
Their sighing moans beginning with the shades
Of evening; gather in the forest depths,
Sounding their warnings in the dim arcades
Thro' all the day they rest concealed in shade
Of gloomy forests on some mountain side,
Loving the jungles or the tangled grass
In low-lying shelves or in the valleys wide;
From thence they stalk, when ends the sunset glow,
Intent on nightly prowl for wandering foe,
Then in dark night their roar is full of ire,
Their eyeballs glowing like two balls of fire.