WITH slender pole, and line, and reel,
And feather-fly with sting of steel,
Whipping the brooks down sunlit glades,
Wading the streams in woodland shades,
I come to the trouter’s paradise:
The flashing fins leap twice or thrice:
Then idle on this gray bowlder lie
My crinkled line and colored fly,
While in the foam-flecked, glossy pool
The shy trout lurk secure and cool.
A rock-lined, wood-embosomed nook —
Dim cloister of the chanting brook!
A chamber within the channeled hills,
Where the cold crystal brims and spills,
By dark-browed caverns blackly flows,
Falls from the cleft like crumbling snows,
And purls and plashes, breathing round
A soft, suffusing mist of sound.
Under a narrow belt of sky
Great bowlders in the torrent lie,
Huge stepping-stones where Titans cross!
Quaint broideries of vines and moss,
Of every loveliest hue and shape,
With tangle and braid and tassel drape
The beetling rocks, and veil the ledge,
And trail long fringe from the cataract’s edge.
A hundred rills of nectar drip
From that Olympian beard and lip.
And, see ! far on, it seems as if
In every crevice along the cliff
Some wild plant grew: the eye discerns
An ivied castle: feathery ferns
Nod from the frieze, and tuft the tall,
Dismantled turret and ruined wall.
Strange gusts from deeper solitudes
Waft pungent odors of the woods.
The small, bee-haunted basswood-blooms
Drop in the gorge their faint perfumes.
Here all the wildwood flowers encamp,
That love the dimness and the damp.
High overhead the morning shines;
The glad breeze swings in the singing pines.
Somewhere aloft in the boughs is heard
The fine note of the Phœbe-bird.
In the alders, dank with noonday dews,
A restless cat-bird darts and mews.
Dear world! let summer tourists range
Your great highways in quest of change,
Go seek Niagara and the sea, —
This little nook sufficeth me!
So wiid, so fresh, so solitary —
I muse in its green sanctuary,
And breathe into my inmost sense
A pure, sweet, thrilling influence,
A bliss even innocent sport would stain,
And dear old Walton’s art, profane.
Here, lying beneath this leaning tree,
On the soft bank, it seems to me
The winds that visit this lonely glen
Should soothe the souls of sorrowing men —
The waters over these ledges curled
Might cool the heart of a fevered world!
J. T. Trowbridge.