THE ALBATROSS AND PENGUIN a Poem
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THE ALBATROSS AND PENGUIN a Poem

THE ALBATROSS AND PENGUIN a Poem




      

THE ALBATROSS AND PENGUIN a Poem


THE ALBATROSS AND PENGUIN

FAR off in southern seas by myriads throng
Those feather'd tyrants of the surging tide,
Following the fish-shoals in their devious way,
Following the smaller wild fowl o'er the deep.

Far off Magellan's stormy strait they swarm,
Far off the rocky rampart of Cape Horn
They hovering seek their prey, and build their nests
Along the rugged precipice of isles.
Then it is well in contemplative mood
To take a stand upon some jutting cliff
And view the rugged eyrie where they build,
Amid the granite cavities of rocks.
There they may rest, secure from harm of man,
With the broad seas around to yield them food.

Beneath them beats the all-surrounding main,
Beyond spreads out old ocean's free domain;
Above, the skies cerulean spread a dome.
To pace the shore when the salt tides are out,
To view the coior'd shells that pave the beach,
Or glean the dulse and sea kelp of the rocks;
To sit on rocks when flows the rising tide,
Attentive to all sounds that fill the air;
To view the snowy flocks as high they rise,—
All this exalts the mind to happiest mood.

The giant albatross of southern seas,
The cruel king of all aquatic tribes,
Hovers aloft or plunges in the deep,
Eager to tear with beak and crooked claw,
The shining fish that skim the surface wave,
Or seize the lesser sea-fowl on the wing.

Afar from human haunt, remote from land,
They float, they drift in worlds of upper air,
Seeming to slumber without flap of wing,
And dropping seldom to the lonely shore,
Save when they come to breed and build their nests.
They roam, they rob, they never feel fatigue,—
By night, by day, forever on the wing,
Forever prowling, ever at their feasts.

One only friend have they of all the tribe—
The clumsy penguin; they together seek
Some desolate bleak island of the sea,
And there construct their nest and rear their young.
The pelican, the cormorant and gull,
And solan goose, avoid the dangerous spot,
Where, like a vast encampment in set lines,
Like tented field, these armies of great birds,
The albatross and penguin, have their home.
Yet now those lonely haunts that once they sought,
Unknown to humankind for countless years,
Are quite forsaken, and more desert shores
They seek, secure from human harm.


McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.

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