Incomplete Angler, An

The bearded grass sways to and fro,
As o'er the fields light zephyrs go;
The reeds nod by the river's brink,
Where birds come down to lave and drink;
Upon the wave the lilies ride;
The trailing vines dip in the tide;
And countless frogs, screened in the sedge,
Boom all along the water's edge.
Here, where the shadows round me wait,
I'll sit and cast my luring bait.
Above my leafy canopy
The summer clouds float dreamily;
The sun, high o'er the cool, dark wood,
Smiles down upon the twinkling flood;
The busy insects round me hum;
The stealthy herons go and come;
A butterfly, with gorgeous wings,
To yon tall flag one moment clings,
Then with a sidewise wavering flight,
Rises and flutters out of sight.
Still I my luckless victim bide:
I watch where frolic sunbeams hide
Deep in the bosom of the stream;
I see his burnished armor gleam,
As round and round the tempting fly
He circles oft and warily.
Why should a fish refuse to dine
From such a dainty hook as mine?
I'll wait and watch him yet. Ah me!
The day is warm. How drowsily
The flies drone near! The river flows
Like sluggish Lethe; I shall doze
If nature thus my senses steep
In languor — but — I — must — not — sleep.
Old fellow, are you waiting yet
To taste my hook? — The grass is wet!
How now — the dew is falling? No!
Yes, in the west the sun is low,
And shadows lie around me deep:
It must be that I dropped asleep.
O Isaak Walton — honored ghost!
Didst e'er thus slumber at thy post?
But see, the fireflies round me flit!
I wonder if that rascal bit:
The hook is gone! — and snell gone, too!
There's nothing further left to do,
But meekly wind my idle reel,
And homeward fare with empty creel.
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