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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 six, 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, Hin, 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 l 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 1 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.
Thomas Buchanax R.E.”