REVISITING IN FANCY THE GROUSE-SHOOTING PLAINS OF ILLINOIS AFTER THIRTY YEARS' ABSENCE a Poem
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REVISITING IN FANCY THE GROUSE-SHOOTING PLAINS OF ILLINOIS AFTER THIRTY YEARS' ABSENCE a Poem

REVISITING IN FANCY THE GROUSE-SHOOTING PLAINS OF ILLINOIS AFTER THIRTY YEARS' ABSENCE a Poem




      

REVISITING IN FANCY THE GROUSE-SHOOTING PLAINS OF ILLINOIS AFTER THIRTY YEARS' ABSENCE a Poem


REVISITING IN FANCY THE GROUSE-SHOOTING PLAINS OF ILLINOIS AFTER THIRTY YEARS' ABSENCE

O’ER prairies green of Illinois,
O'er pastures measureless, I tread;
A flowery garden all around,
An azure firmament o'erhead;
No tufted grove, no woodland wide
Within the circuit of the plain,
Only a billowy, grassy slope,
Like rolling hillocks of the main.
These are the same fair scenes I knew
More than a score of years ago;
These the same grassy meadows spread,
These the same flowers that used to blow;
But all how changed!—the pastoral scene,
These peopled spaces all seem new,
For farm and villa crowd the waste,
And cities flash upon the view.

The songbirds sing in orchard tree,
The blackbirds swell their tuneful trill,
The meadow lark delights the plain,
The bluebird chants on wooded hill;
But ah! the speckled grouse forsake
The stubble-field, the corn-field's edge;
No more the mottled flocks abound
O'er open waste, by wayside hedge;
I may not rouse them, as of old,
Across the broad and boundless plain,
Feeding where harvest wheat-fields spread,
Where wav'd the golden shocks of grain.

Where stretch'd in olden days gone by
The prairie's limitless expanse;
Where swept, o'er flowery meads, the breeze,
Rejoicing in the sunbeam's glance,
I see new villages extend,
Villa and town, and rural grange,
The fresh turf broken by the plough,
The old-time landscape new and strange;
The peaceful coverts of the game.
Of grouse, of woodcock, of the quail,
Invaded, where the poacher's net
And ploughboy's lawless guns prevail.

The emigrants from foreign lands
Have here with white-topp'd wagons come,
Forsaking the ancestral roof
To find on virgin soil a home;
And here like swarming bees they pour,
They fell the wood, they sow the plain,
And the wild forest deer and grouse
Affrighted flee from their domain.

Well I recall those blissful days,
The joyous days long since I pass'd,—
The crimson morns, the dewy eves,
Too sweet, too glorious to last,—
When by Fox River's crystal tide
I sought the duck, I slew the quail;
When by Rock River's grassy edge,
O'er prairie plain, o'er verdurous vale,
I follow'd the brown quarry's flight,
Seeking in upland and in dale
The sportsman's pastime and delight.
Then few and far the villages
Sprinkled along the rushing tide,
Batavia and Geneva's street,
And Elgin, now watchmaker's pride;
And by thy green, romantic shore,
O swift Rock River, well I knew
The little hamlet, Oregon,
And youthful Dixon, fair to view;
But now they tell that peopled town
And crowded cities line the shore,
And art and luxuries abound
Where solitude had reign'd before;
Yet, ah! this flow of busy life
Hath swept the shore and scour'd the plain,
And the wild game hath fled away
From prairie-land and harvest-grain.


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

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