Elk
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Elk

Elk




      

Elk


Far from the cultivated realm
Where human labor fells the wood,
Cleaves a rich glebe and tills the soil,
Incessant toiling for its food,
The great Elk of the wilderness,
Boon nature’s noblest, fleetest child,
Since the Creation hath possess’d
And rang’d, untamable, the waste,
Cropt the sweet grasses of the wild,
In savage freedom roam’d and rac’d.

The Indian mounted on fleet steed,
The steed that needs not bit or spur,
The Blackfoot and the fierce Sioux,
Unclad save with the robe of fur,
Far o’er the prairies’ flowery plain,
Far as the Rocky Mountain base,
For ages have pursued the herd, ---
The elk-herd, madden’d with the chase.
But seldom whit man face to face
Hath met this wild, majestic game,
Save soldier of the garrison
With rifle of unerring aim.

Shy and secluded, far he seeks
In great green woods his food and rest,
Browsing on tender twigs and buds,
Or grasses spread o’er nature’s breeze.
Though blest with matchless strength and speed,
He shuns th’ intrusive step of fear;
Though swifter than the antelope,
Fleeter than the nimble forest deer,
When danger threatens, and the taint
Of coming foe infects the air,
With head erect and ears thrown back,
And eyeballs fix’d in glassy stare,
He eyes th’ intruder, bounds a step
As if to try his strength for flight,
Then, startled with a mad affright,
His great horns thrown across his back,
His taper nose projecting far,
With might leaps he clears the ground
And vanishes like shooting star.


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