THE MANGROVE SNAPPER a Poem
THE MANGROVE SNAPPER
A FAR o'er Florida's fair, flowery lands
Wanders the angler; now by verdurous brink
Of river by the drooping forests fring'd,
All sown with lovely isles of emerald green.
He tracks the stream to its far fountain-heads,
Where, but a slender brook, o'er purple stones
It tumbles, rippling on its jocund way;
Then with a fuller tide, thro' tangled swamps
It foams with spray, like breakers on a bar.
Anon he journeys over rolling plains,
Enamell'd thick with bright convolvuli,
Lilies and plants of most surpassing bloom,
A sumptuous garden sown by Nature's hand.
Anon he roams by Halifax's banks,
Where foam and toss thro' woods the rushing stream
A fair stream border'd with savannas vast,
Where the free breezes blow thro' russet grass,
Stirring the long, white plumes of Spanish moss,
And scarlet tufts of the wild calabash,
Until those zephyrs sleep in drowsy calm.
In Indian River, or by Spruce Creek shore,
Anchor'd in boat he casts his tackle fine
To take the snapper in its secret haunts.
Far be his cast beyond his rocking boat,
Far o'er deep channels near the hidden snags,
To lure this shyest, craftiest of fish;
Strong be the tackle, for the saw-like teeth
Will cut your silk-worm gut like razor edge,
And firm the hand the snapper to beguile
From submerg'd roots, else hook and fish are lost,
For swift it rushes for its secret hole,
And fights and struggles hard while life remains.
'Tis a fair fish, with colors amber-brown,
Illum'd with brilliant tints of golden hue,
Arm'd with sharp spines upon the dorsal fin,
And wide mouth garnish'd with destructive teeth,
Eyes large and bright, with iris golden-hued,
Eyes keen for nightly feed and darksome days.
It is no hermit fish, to swim alone,
The solitary tenant of the stream,
But in vast numbers they collect their ranks,
And throng the deep recesses of the stream;
And there the fishers come with meshing seine;
And with the cast-net capture all the school.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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