WHEN winter o'er the prairie throws
Its mantle of the drifted snows,
The grouse-packs o'er the landscape white
In the collected flock unite.
On rail and naked woods they brood,
Denied the prairie's generous food:
So then the fowler seeks in vain
To harass them with leaden rain.
But when the budding Spring returns,
To scatter from her brimming urns
Her quickening light, her rosy hues,
Her softly falling showers and dews;
When twig and branch in living bloom
Their vernal loveliness resume,
And soft buds on each tender spray
Blossom, and leaves their palms display.
Then the great grouse-flocks separate,
Each pairing with some chosen mate.
When August and September days
Flush the broad prairies with their blaze,
The young broods, now matur'd, expand
Their wings and flutter o'er the land,
Feeding in corn-fields and in grain,
At mid-day hidden o'er the plain,—
Then sudden smoke and pealing gun,
Tell that the sportsman's joy's begun.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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