THE HADDOCK FISHERS a Poem
THE HADDOCK FISHERS
The haddock is a more tasty fish than the codfish and is usually smoked before being brought to market.—Van Dobne in Fishes of the East Atlantic Coast.
OFF the grand bank of Newfoundland
Amid the drifting fogs and rain,
Now weltering in the drowsy calm,
Now tossing in mad hurricane.
Amid the sleety snows and hail,
Wrestling with billow and with gale,
The humble fishing schooner rides,
The sport, the plaything of the tides.
Hold fast, good anchor, fathoms down,
Cable and hawser steadfast hold,
Or helpless else the drifting wreck
Beneath the surges shall be roll'd.
Never again the gallant crew
To home, to native land may sail,
Where weeping wife and wailing child
For years the absent shall bewail.
Off Cape Cod's level, sandy shore
The fisher's ply their toilful work,
The cod and halibut their prey.
The haddocks in the deeps that lurk.
Chief in the winter—stormy time—
They sweep the seas, they drop the kedge,
Then cast their little dories out,
To anchor over bar and ledge;
And oft, too oft, these frailest boats
'Mid shifting fogs and mists are lost;
Whelm'd neath some ocean steamer's prow,
Or 'gainst a floating iceberg tost.
The great ship hurries on its way,
It hears no agonizing cry;
The grinding floes, the wallowing bergs
O'erwhelm them as they thunder by.
Ah! mariners, sailing the salt seas,
In hurricane, in typhoon-gale,
While raves the wild, remorseless breeze
Thro' straining shroud and close-reef'd sail,
How oft will ye that day recall,
That calm, sweet day, so pure, so bright,
That saw your vessel seaward turn,
Departing for its ocean flight;
Recall the old gray roof of home,
The simple church with steeple crown'd,
The fields, the orchards and the grove,
The bowery village that surround;
And chief that dear, beloved group
Assembled on the grassy shore,
Waving a last and long farewell
To those who may return no more.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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