THE autumn day is fleck'd with gold,
As slow the twilight sun declines;
The western cloud's encrimson'd fold
With a surpassing beauty shines;
And as the deep'ning shadows creep
Athwart the glimmering landscape's breast,
And o'er the purpling mountains sweep,
The drowsy breezes sink to rest.
The roe buck to his dingle goes,
Where thick the wood its covert throws;
The red stag that had paus'd to drink
Beside the rivulet's plashy brink,
Exhausted flings his dappled side
Along the clear, pellucid tide.
'Tis then the pigeons seek the wood
To roost, a swarming multitude.
Deep in Wisconsin wilderness,
Or forests vast of Michigan,
The bending boughs their bosoms press,
The air their clanging pinions fan.
So great their numbers, hunters say
They bend the bough and break the spray,
And when their frighten'd myriads rise,
'Tis like the thunder of the skies.
Years since in forests of the East
They gather'd to the harvest feast;
They swarm'd by river and by shore,
In vast flocks flew the pastures o'er;
They swept innumerable the plain,
Gleaning the corn-seed and the grain;
Then, winging to some grove their flight,
Sought roosting-places for the night.
When emigration to the West
In eager emulation press'd,
And axe and plough and farmer's toil
Open'd the treasures of new soil;
And million acres of the wheat
Ripen'd in summer's fervid heat,
And bearded rye and yellow corn
Shook their bright tresses in the morn;
Then to those fields and pastures new
These emigrants on pinions flew.
When June with rose-red cheeks aglow
O'er banks wild strawberries doth strew;
When August on the sunny hills
With sweets the luscious blueberry fills,
And o'er the heated pasture pours
The blackberries in honey'd stores,
And ripens on the swinging vine
The grapes, like amethysts that shine,—
Then to this ripe, abundant fare,
So sweet, the pigeon-flocks repair,
Sharing the never-cloying feast
Our Maker offers to the guest.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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