MY PARKER GUN
WHEN the dew is on the grass, and the corn-leaves, thin and white,
Are rustling, are tinkling, in October's dawning light;
When the filmy mists from river, from thicket, and from wood
In silvery wreaths are rising over meadow, over flood,
Then I follow hard the quail, the speckled, piping quail,—
Thro' stubble of the oat-field, thro' wheat-field of the vale,
With my trusty Parker gun.
When the wind is on the bay, and November breezes play
O'er the marshes, o'er the shallows, o'er the sandbars and the
spray; When the wild-geese flocks are passing and the hovering brant
And the bluebills and black-duck are multitudes surpassing—
When the canvas-backs, the red-heads, the mallards, and the teal
In great flocks are circling, as o'er the wave they wheel,
Then I seize my Parker gun.
When the midday August heats, in shady swamp retreats,
O'er alders of the rivulet with sultry fervor beat;
When thro' the bowery shades scarce a sunbeam bright pervades,
And the startled woodcock breaks thro' the thick-entangled glades,
Then my Parker gun resounds.
When September breezes pass o'er the waving, billowy grass;
O'er the herbage of the prairies, o'er the far-extended
plain; When the speckled grouse-flocks spring on the upward soaring
O'er the uplands, o'er the woodlands, and the stubblesof the grain,
Re-echoes then my gun.
When the summer breezes play, "o'er the twinkling open bay,
O'er the shallows, o'er the coves, o'er the sand-spits of
the shore. When the snipe-flocks are speeding, and the jack-curlews are
And yellow-shanks and brant-birds in airy circles soar,
Then I ply my Parker gun.
And when the green-back plover, over plains of Montauk
And gray-backs and black-breasts are speeding on their way,
Then I set my wood decoys, and the volleying flame destroys
The frighten'd flock, the bleeding flock, that o'er my covert sways,
When I raise my Parker gun.
And ah! what joy I take, where the ocean billows break
O'er the islets, o'er the bars of the green
When the crispy yellow sedge at the water's rippling edge Is alive with duck and snipe, and I eager grasp in hand
My beloved Parker gun!
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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