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WHERE greenwood shadows shift and swim,
As in cathedral arches dim,
Casting a weird and solemn shade
Thro' the primeval forest-glade,
While here and there a sunny beam
Thro' canopy and vault doth stream,
Illuminating with its glow
The checker'd turf that spreads below,—
There the shy partridge loves to brood,
Deep in the shelter of the wood.

High soars a patriarchal oak,
Its umbrage scath'd by lightning-stroke,
Upon whose topmost bough doth dwell
An eagle, monarch of the dell,
O'erlooking from his eyrie grand
The wide expanse of forest land;
Now rising high in air to sweep
In circling rings the upper deep,
Now pois'd and balanc'd in mid-space,
As resting from his airy chase;
Now sweeping downward on its way
As pirate bark swoops on its prey.

Yonder a chestnut grove is seen
Waving its royal flags of green;
A lovely spot, a cool retreat,
Where shade and silence love to meet,
But in the mellow autumn-time
(When brisk October breezes chime,
When fruits are ripe, and leaves are red),
Vocal with music, loud with tread,
For there the village children haste
The chestnuts, brown and crisp, to taste,
And there the partridge loves to bring
Her young when evening folds its wing.

In rocky regions, where the pine
And spruce and hemlock intertwine,
Forming an overhanging roof
Against the rain and sunbeam proof,
So dense that scarce a ray may pour
Across the dark and russet floor,
There doth the speckled partridge come
In dim recess to make a home,
To sound the drum or forth to lead
The young, on berries ripe to feed,
Prompt on affrighted wing to break
When foes the tangled thickets shake.

They love the lofty, breezy height,
The hillside with its sunshine bright,
The long, mountainous range of hills
Where bubble forth the crystal rills,
Where oak and laurel intertwine,
And shakes its plumy crest the pine;
And there they love to lurk and feed
On fallen mast and dropping seed;
And there the red luxurious fare
Of melting strawberries they share,
The partridge-berries' scarlet fruit,
The blue-berry's o'erladen shoot,
And spicy bud and purple grape,
Where vines the sunny hillside drape.

When bleak November hoar-frosts creep
Along the mountain-ranges steep,
They speed before the rising gale
To seek some warm, sequester'd vale,
And there where stood the harvest sheaves
They feed at will in morn and eves,
Gleaning the grains so honey-sweet
Of oat and barley, and buckwheat,
Secure by day in tussocks green,
At night in sombre evergreen.

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

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