THE woods are color'd with prismy dyes,
The clouds are flush'd in the autumn skies,
The leaf of the elm is crisp and brown,
The oak-trees wear their golden crown,
The maple groves with scarlet glow,
The willows twinkle, a splendid show;
The sumac thickets, intensely red,
Their leaves o'er the roadside borders shed;
But deep in woods the dusky glades
Of evergreen firs and cypress shades
Give safe retreat and a welcome lair
To prowling wolf and to growling bear;
And here in the copse, or 'mid river-reeds,
The dappled deer-herd-run way leads;
The antler'd stag and the tawny doe
Here crop the grass by the river-flow.
So here in ambush the hunter lies
To drop the fugitive as he flies.
The woodmen come from logging-camp,
The trappers come with stealthy tramp,
The hunter comes from city square
To follow the woodland thoroughfare;
They come with rifle, horse arid hound
To hunt the deer in the forest-ground.
Now far where stretches the russet plain,
That erewhile glow'd with autumn grain,
In stubble-fields where lurk the quail,
Or away on frighten'd pinions sail,
The gunner with his pointer hies
To stop the quarry as it flies;
And far over western prairie's space,
Where the grouse-flocks have their feeding-place,
'Mid corn-stacks or the wither'd grass,
Unwearied ever the shooters pass.
And where the river flows swift and deep,
Belting the woodlands in their sweep,
The fowlers by the reedy bank
Where grow the rushes tall and rank,
And leaves the ambush'd forms conceal,
Lie for the wood-duck and the teal.
Far where the broad blue bays extend
Their billows to the horizon end,
And where the honking geese and brant
Assemble in their chosen haunt,
Where canvas-back and redheads feed
At banquet of the wild rice seed,
The fowlers in their drifting boat
Spread havoc as they onward float.
Far where Atlantic surges pour
Their crested breakers to the shore,
The fowlers urge the hot pursuit
Of screaming loon and dusky coot.
' Fair, fading season, beauteous with the hues
That nature from her sumptuous palette drops!
I love to watch the colors that suffuse
Thy tufted groves, the glowing forest tops;
Thou lead'st the joyous sportsman by the hand
Thro' all the wonders of enchanted land.
The angler, too, finds ever new delight
Where creeps the brook, where runs the river bright;
For nature, ever in benignant mood,
Spreads charms resistless over field and flood.
But nobler game is there to seek
Where soaring mountains lift the peak,
Or where dark forests, measureless,
O'er black ravines or summits press,
Where the o'ertumbling waterfall
Forever hoarsely sounds its call.
For there the red deer bounding goes,
The antler'd stag and tawny roes,
The brindled moose and elk of might,
The caribou with clattering flight;
For all those creatures there that bask
May well reward the hunter's task.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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