THE BROOKSIDE AND THE HILLSIDE a Poem
THE BROOKSIDE AND THE HILLSIDE
IT was a leafy haunt where oft I came
To track the wilful twistings of a brook
That ran thro' grove and mead; now creeping slow
And sluggish, half asleep amid its shores,
Now slipping with an endless prattle down
Its sloping floor of pebbles and white sands.
The stream beneath a bridge had made a pool
Of dusky water, fring'd with sedge and reeds,
Where water-lilies their white vases oped
Each with a gem of gold within its heart.
On the slant bank the wild rosebushes grew,
All their pink petals to the view disclos'd,
Their images reflected in the wave.
Here flew the bright kingfishers, blue and gold,
Following in flight the windings of the stream;
And here a bird with snow-white, downy breast,
The water-ouzel, dipping its black bill,
Perch'd on a mossy stone, or skimm'd the wave.
It was a fairy scene to charm the eye!
Down the swift stream, amid the shadows dusk,
The gnat-swarms hover'd, and the minnows bright
Twinkled and glisten'd in the sweeping tide,
And leap'd the trout where insects sought the wave.
The sweetest song-birds from each bending twig
And coppice pour'd their souls in liquid strains;
The heavens above were sunshine, and the earth
Rejoic'd in full fruition of the day;
Delicious were the bird-hymns, and most sweet
The trickling murmur of the running brook.
We left the brookside, pass'd the bowering lanes,
And on the brow of hillock saw beneath
The open plains with rural farms o'erspread,
And dotted thick with roofs of cottages.
And here were seen the yellow sands, the cove,
The rounded rocks with clinging sea weeds drap'd,
The white-capp'd waves, the brown sails on the bay,
The drying nets o'er white sea-sands outspread.
There was a drowsy hum of bees in air,
Flitting from bank to bank, from bush to bush,
To sip the honey'd nectar of the flowers;
Now darting thro' the honeysuckle shoots,
Now o'er the meadows, white with clover-blooms;
While on their purple plumes the humming-birds
Like winged flowerets darted down the air;
And all was blissful calm and slumberous peace,
And trills of bird and murmur of the brook.
Where the white sunshine thro' green branches peeps,
And the blue sky thro' tufted tree-tops shows,
And leaves that curtain the path-openings
Of forest sanctuaries are astir,
Then pleasant 'tis beneath that verdant arch
To enter and explore the depth of woods.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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