WHEN fields are green and woods of June
Are vocal with the song-bird's tune,
When willows lithe, a lovely group,
Full foliaged o'er the meadows droop;
When hazels their soft catkins ope
By rivulet edge and grassy slope,
Then swift those rovers of the deep
O'er all the Northern surges leap.
Far off the billows of Montauk,
Above them hovering gull and hawk;
Far off the isles of Orient
Where the Sound's billowy waves are spent,
And by the rough New England shore
Where the vex'd tides incessant roar,
Their gleaming schools flash far and wide,
Disporting in the flowing tide.
Most beautiful in shape and hue
Of all that swim the waters blue,
Fairer than plumage of the bird
Or fur of the wild forest herd,
Remorseless are they as the grave
To all the tenants of the wave;
No speed, no cunning may avail
When these marauders may assail.
But yet a cruel fate prepares
For them its fierce destructive snares;
The fishers with their swarming boats
Spread out their mesh seines and their floats;
The yacht sweeps round them with the sail,
Or stoops the sea-hawk in the gale,
While flashing squid and trailing line
Drag them reluctant from the brine.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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