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JUST in the dubious point, where with the pool
Is mixed the trembling stream, or where it boils
Around the stone, or from the hollowed bank
Reverted plays in undulating flow,
There throw, nice-judging, the delusive fly;
And, as you lead it round in artful curve,
With eye attentive mark the springing game.
Straight as above the surface of the flood
They wanton rise, or urged by hunger leap,
Then fix, with gentle twitch, the barbéd hook;
Some lightly tossing to the grassy bank,
And to the shelving shore slow dragging some,
With various hand proportioned to their force.
If yet too young, and easily deceived,

A worthless prey scarce bends your pliant rod,
Him, piteous of his youth, and the short space
He has enjoyed the vital light of heaven,
Soft disengage, and back into the stream
The speckled infant throw. But should you lure
From his dark haunt, beneath the tangled roots

Of pendent trees, the monarch of the brook,
Behooves you then to ply your finest art.
Long time he, following cautious, scans the fly;
And oft attempts to seize it, but as oft
The dimpled water speaks his jealous fear.
At last, while haply o'er the shaded sun
Passes a cloud, he desperate takes the death,
With sullen plunge. At once he darts along,
Deep-struck, and runs out all the lengthened line;
Then seeks the farthest ooze, the sheltering weed,
The caverned bank, his old secure abode;
And flies aloft, and flounces round the pool,
Indignant of the guile. With yielding hand,
That feels him still, yet to his furious course
Gives way, you, now retiring, following now
Across the stream, exhaust his idle rage;
Till, floating broad upon his breathless side,
And to his fate abandoned, to the shore
You gayly drag your unresisting prize.



BUT look! o'er the fall see the angler stand,
Swinging his rod with skilful hand ;
The fly at the end of his gossamer line
Swims through the sun like a summer moth,
Till, dropt with a careful precision fine,
It touches the pool beyond the froth.
A-sudden, the speckled hawk of the brook
Darts from his covert and seizes the hook.
Swift spins the reel; with easy slip
The line pays out, and the rod like a whip,
Lithe and arrowy, tapering, slim,

Is bent to a bow o'er the brooklet's brim,
Till the trout leaps up in the sun, and flings
The spray from the flash of his finny wings;
Then falls on his side, and, drunken with fright,

Is towed to the shore like a staggering barge,
Till beached at last on the sandy marge,
Where he dies with the hues of the morning light,
While his sides with a cluster of stars are bright.
The angler in his basket lays
The constellation, and goes his ways.



SING, Sweet thrushes, forth and sing!
Meet the morn upon the lea;
Are the emeralds of the spring
On the angler's trysting-tree?
Tell, sweet thrushes, tell to me!

Are there buds on our willow-tree?
Buds and birds on our trysting-tree?

Sing, sweet thrushes, forth and sing!
Have you met the honey-bee,
Circling upon rapid wing,

Round the angler's trysting-tree?
Up, sweet thrushes, up and see !
Are there bees at our willow-tree?
Birds and bees at the trysting-tree?

Sing, sweet thrushes, forth and sing!
Are the fountains gushing free?
Is the south-wind wandering

Through the angler's trysting-tree?
Up, sweet thrushes, tell to me !
Is there wind up our willow-tree?
Wind or calm at our trysting-tree?

Sing, sweet thrushes, forth and sing!
Wile us with a merry glee ;
To the flowery haunts of spring, -
To the angler's trysting-tree.
Tell, sweet thrushes, tell to me!

Are there flowers 'neath our willow-tree?

Spring and flowers at the trysting-tree?


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Go, let the diving negro seek

For gems, hid in some forlorn creek: We all pearls scorn

Save what the dewy morn

Where winds, sometimes, our woods perhaps may Congeals upon each little spire of grass,


But blustering care could never tempest make;

Nor murmurs, e'er come nigh us,
Saving of fountains that glide by us.

Here's no fantastic mask nor dance, But of our kids that frisk and prance; Nor wars are seen,

Unless upon the green

Two harmless lambs are butting one the other, Which done, both bleating run, each to his mother; And wounds are never found,

Save what the ploughshare gives the ground.

Which careless shepherds beat down as they pass; And gold ne'er here appears,

Save what the yellow Ceres bears.

Blest silent groves, O, may you be,
Forever, mirth's best nursery!

May pure contents

Forever pitch their tents

Upon these downs, these meads, these rocks, these mountains!

And peace still slumber by these purling fountains, Which we may every year

Meet, when we come a-fishing here.


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