WHERE the broad Hudson graceful sweeps
Along its fair, romantic shores;
Where past its western, wooded bluffs
And frowning Palisades it pours;
And upward where the narrowing stream
Is girdled by the embracing bank;
Far upward where the tufted woods
Umbrageous gather, rank on rank,
And downward where its outlet yields
Its generous tribute to the deep,
The white-scal'd sturgeons glide or leap;
A hard-sought prize to net or spear,
Wherever they urge their free career.
Up the wide Sound, and far as trend
The rocks that hem New England's coast;
Up the Maine rivers, broad and deep,
Where boiling tides are ever tost,
The silver-spangled sturgeon roam
In the fresh tides or salty foam.
And often gazing o'er the main
Where the Atlantic billows break;
O'er that illimitable plain
I see them their mad gambols make;
Now swiftly shooting o'er the surge,
Now leaping upward, each its length,
In course eccentric on they urge
With matchless speed, surpassing strength.
The billows brighten where they leap,
The spray flies upward, white and high,
Then sudden to abysses deep
They settle, lost to human eye.
Far, far along thy dangerous edge,
O Maine, with reefs and rocks beset,
Lin'd with the seaweed and the sedge,
Where ceaseless the salt surges fret,
I've seen the gleaming sturgeon play
Along old Ocean's endless way.
And where thy rivers pour their tide,
Penobscot, Androscoggin wide,
I've seen far up the drooping woods
The sturgeon flashing in the floods.
Ah me! how pleasant to recall
Those college days, so distant wide,
When you and I, dear Longfellow,
Wander'd in converse, side by side;
Wander'd 'neath Brunswick's piny woods,
Or by the Androscoggin's floods;
Now pausing by the way to note
The pigeon flocks above us float,
Or catch the sudden flash and leap
Of the great sturgeons o'er the deep!
Though Time has long inscrib'd thy name
High on the scroll of poet's fame,
Yet well I know thy memory strays
Far back to scenes of vanish'd days,—
To Brunswick woods and waters blue,
When we were young and life was new.
Though Time has sprinkled on our brows
His white, inevitable snows,
Still in our hearts the life-tides pour
As warm, as loving as of yore.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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