IN all the warmer waters of the world,
The skip-jacks' swarming shoals are seen,
Where the Sardinian Islands rest
In Mediterranean tides serene,
And where the tumbling billows pour,
Along America's southern shore;
While dense by rocky northern coast,
Wanders the countless host.
Their form symmetric, their sharp fins,
Proclaim their wondrous, matchless speed;
While their white row of vicious teeth,
Are terrors wheresoe'er they feed.
Like birds of passage, they pursue
O'er thousand leagues of sea their way,
Revisiting each well-known shore
Where their great schools were wont to play.
What power directs them thro' the seas,
Impels their myriad hosts to roam,
Prompts to forsake for years a shore,
Then leads them to their ancient home?
We ask the question all in vain,
For skill'd philosophy may not explain.
In August season, where the seas
Are brightened by the finny host,
When the menhaden shoals abound
And weakfish haunt the coast.
Then come the leaping bluefish schools,
The Spanish mackerel, keen for food,
The porpoise, the bonito swift,
Relentless robbers of the flood.
The ocean angler in his yacht,
Hovers about like bird of prey,
Guides the true helm and trims the sail,
And thro' them ploughs a foamy way;
Then casts his glittering trolling bait,
And lures bonito to his fate.
Up thy vast stretch, Long Island Sound,
Bonitos flash in sportive play;
They cluster in the sunken reef,
They gather in the salty bay,
They seize menhaden as they fly,
They persecute all lesser fry,
And in their turn fall helpless prize,
To the black shark a sacrifice.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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