THE SALMON OF NEW BRUNSWICK a Poem
THE SALMON OF NEW BRUNSWICK
FAR up the wild New Brunswick coast,
Cool crystal streams outpour
From turfy bank and mossy rock,
To chafe the ocean shore;
From hidden, ice-cold springs they come,
Far up the forest-land,
Where silent tarn and lonely pool
Their watery fields expand.
Fairest of all, the swift St. Croix
Rolls on its mighty stream,—
Fair with its clear, pellucid deeps,
Fair with its sparkling gleam;
Thro' meadows fring'd with willows,
Thro' forest-worlds of pine,
It pours its gelid waters
To mingle with the brine.
With fume and splash tumultuous
It dashes on its way,
Past black, basaltic ledges,
Past boulders, moss'd and gray;
Now dark it sleeps in shadow,
'Mid overhanging woods,
And now reflects the heaven
From its transparent floods.
And here in some secluded cove
Or recess of the strand,
The salmon drops its pearly eggs
Amid the pure white sand;
And here the infant fish disport,
Beyond the reach of tides,
Each little school resplendent
With gleamy, silvery sides.
When melting snows, at winter's close,
Make cold the river's flow,
Then nature teaches that they turn
To warmer tides below.
Well-grown in size and strength, they pass
Along the budding shore,
The salt, warm depths of ocean
To welcome and explore.
They pass by banks where hazels
Their catkins soft display;
Where willow-palms their velvet tufts
Hang out from sprig and spray;
Where purple violets ope their eyes,
Or flocks of wild-ducks lead
Their yellow broods of ducklings
From out the sheltering reed.
So down unto the sea they pass,
Down torrents swift and sheer,
Past labyrinth of stake-nets,
Past rocky wall and weir;
Past huts whore smokes of woodmen
Float, cloud-like, in the air,
Past shores where fishers' camp-fires
Along the salt tides glare.
They reach at last the sea, which far
Is spangled where they play;
They roam the abyss of ocean,
Where none may trace their way;
Yet, still they turn, year after year,
With an unerring aim,
To haunt the noble rivers
And brooklets whence they came.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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