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WHERE the river winds through its green retreat,
Smiling, rejoicing on its way,
Whose ripples and rifles ever beat
The old tree-roots and boulders gray;
Where o'er the sedges' shallows and sands,
The cat-tail tufts and river reeds,
At whose edge the patient angler stands,
The kingfisher flies and feeds.
Perch'd on a bending, wither'd spray
That leans o'er the water's flow,
He watches intently for the prey
That swims in the stream below.

Patiently, motionless, long he sits,
Like sentry on the castle height;
Unharm'd the insect by him flits,
The bee and the butterfly bright,
For his dainty food is the finny race,
The minnows below that swim,
The silver shiners, the roach and dace,
The trout o'er the surface that skim.

Lovely and spangled with all the dyes
That melt in the sunset skies,
Wings bright as the peacock's plumes,
Or hummingbird's mottled blooms,
With long bill like that of water crane,
And crown of dusky greenish stain,
No lovelier robber infests the streams,
Where water runs or fish school gleams.
Where'er sea-beaches far expand,
By shingle-banks and stretch of sand;
Where'er o'erleaning woodlands shade
The clear brook twinkling thro' the glade,
O bird rapacious! is thy haunt,
On trees that o'er the currents slant.

Pois'd in mid-air like osprey white
That o'er sea borders takes its flight,
It balances its spotted wings,
Tiien downward like an arrow springs,
Impaling with its pointed bill
The shiny fish of pond and rill.
The silent angler, as he glides
Along the river's rushing tides,
Hears oft thy sharp, discordant cry,
As your gay pinions flutter by;
But ne'er molests thy sudden dash,
Thy downward plunge, like sunbeam flash.
But the boy gunner's cruel eyes
Mark thy bright plumage for his prize,
In ambush takes his deadly aim,
And slays thee, his resplendent game!

McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.

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