THE OPEN SEASON FOR QUAIL-SHOOTING a Poem
THE OPEN SEASON FOR QUAIL-SHOOTING
IT is October morning, the golden, glorious prime
Of the autumnal season, the sportsman's royal time;
And now the hoar-frost jewels, all glittering and white,
Shine o'er the grassy meadows and o'er the upland height;
And far as eye may wander a filmy vapory veil
Floats o'er the brimming river that windeth down the vale.
I gaze o'er woods and orchards, resplendent with the hues
With which the lavish autumn the drooping leaves suffuse,
Where ivies nnd the woodbines and garlands of the vine
Are redden'd and embrown'd, with vermilion splendors shine.
And where the oaten harvests and fields of wheat were spread,
All bare the russet stubble is crisp beneath the tread,
And yellow corn-stacks like the tents of armies spread around,
While in the busy granaries the beating flails resound.
Now by the blue-lake borders, and by the river's edge,
Where swing the cat-tail clusters, where leans the rustling sedge,
I see the black-duck squadrons, the wood-duck and the teal;
I see the ambush'd fowler, I hear his volleying peal.
And as I skirt the thicket edge, or through the stubble pass,
I see the bevies of the quail spring from the faded grass;
In every weedy tussock, in every swale, they hide;
And as they sail o'er hedges, in winnowings far and wide,
The sportsman's heart exulteth with promise of the joy
When first the " open season" his gun and dog employ.
For not until November its earliest dawn shall bring
May shot be fir'd in coppices where quail burst on the wing;
For then from morn tiil evening the echoes shall repeat
The gun's report in open field or in the green retreat.
Till then the speckled flocks may feed and fly at will,
May range the sumptuous stubbles, may sweep o'er plain and
When comes that day relentless, ahtheu, poor flocks, beware!
Swift be your flight or ye may leave your " little lives in air."
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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