PICKEREL FISHING THROUGH THE ICE a Poem
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PICKEREL FISHING THROUGH THE ICE a Poem

PICKEREL FISHING THROUGH THE ICE a Poem




      

PICKEREL FISHING THROUGH THE ICE a Poem


PICKEREL FISHING THROUGH THE ICE

WIDE o'er the lake's transparent plain
An adamantine floor is laid,
A pure and crystalline domain
By unseen frosty fingers made;
So firm, a marching host might pass
With ponderous guns the bridge of glass;
And here the ice-boats skim or beat
Swifter than yachter's sailing fleet,
And, pois'd upon the gleamy steel,
The flying skaters whirl and wheel.

The eeler comes with trident spear
To thrust with keen and barbed grain;
The pickerel-fishers gather near,
To hew with axe the crystal plain,
And there with baited lines all day,
On circling skates they watch for prey.
A hundred flapping tents arise
To screen them from the blast that blows,
And the white lake with canopies
Like warlike vast encampment shows.

It is a fair, secluded spot
Hid in dense woods of evergreen,
A frozen lake of lucent glass
Fring'd with its sombre forest screen;
The larch, the hemlock, and the pine
And spicy cedars hem it round,
In whose thick, interlacing shades
The speckled partridges abound.
In summer 'tis a sparkling lake
With golden sands and purple deeps,
Where skims the yellow pickerel,
Or through profoundest waters sweeps.

But when the winter days are come
And Christmas carols thrill the air,
And snows besiege the farmer's home,
And pallid woods stretch bleak and bare,
And spreads a solid icy floor
Across the lake from shore to shore,
Then joyous troops delight to wheel
And whirl upon the glancing steel,
To build great bonfires to illume
The scene when falls the evening gloom,
From dawn till midnight hour to make
Wild frolic o'er the crackling lake,
To hew deep chasms in the clear,
Pure ice for passage of the spear,
Or set the fish-lines to ensnare
The lurking pickerel from his lair.

A jocund and a youthful crowd
Assemble there with laughter loud;
Bright golden locks o'er brows of snow,
Cheeks with the roses' scarlet glow,
And darker tresses flowing down
Like torrents from the mountain's crown;
Eyes gleaming like the diamond spark,
Or star-beam flashing thro' the dark;
These gather all in mad delight,
To see the finuy treasures bright
That flash and glitter as they leap
From dim abysses of the deep.
O riotous, glad winter-time,
With brow of snow and locks of rime,
With sifting drift on garden-rail,
With woods resplendent with the hail,

With shapeless snow-heaps o'er the ground,
And roofs with pearl tiaras crown'd,
And house-eaves thick with jewels set,
Bright as the polish'd bayonet;
With wreaths the old walls to adorn,
Where youth and beauty dance till morn;
With silver tinkle of the bells
O'er country roads, thro' sylvan dells;
With skater's shout and singer's strain
Far o'er the wide, rejoicing plain;
Ahl with all these no festival
So gay in summer's gilded hall!


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

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