EEL-SPEARING BY TORCHLIGHT a Poem
EEL-SPEARING BY TORCHLIGHT
THE skies are dark; the moon is hid
Behind the dusky cloud of night;
A bank of drift-fog from the surge
Hangs heavy on the sea-shore height;
No hovering breeze uplifts its wing
Aside the misty gloom to fling.
But see! a star along the wave
Moves slow and devious, to and fro;
Now like a blazing camp-fire flares,
Now, flickering, trembles faint and low.
Anon it steady glows and burns,
As hither thro' the gloom it turns.
'Tis the eel-spearer's pitchy torch
That like a lightship's lantern flings
Its ruddy, quivering bar of light,
As in the rigging high it swings.
Nearer and nearer, thro' the dusk,
The smoky flambeau slow doth float,
And now the gnome-like fisherman
Shows dimly in his drifting boat.
Standing with trident spear uprais'd,
All shadowy on his task intent,
He shows like goblin of the mine
On some weird, fiendish orgie bent.
He pauses, for the shooting flame
Reveals the slippery prey below;
With sudden plunge he thrusts the spear,
Then draws it upward to the glow;
And see! the captives twist and coil,
Dark victims of his midnight toil.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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