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the poetry of fly fishing

a winter piece

william cullen bryant

part 2

Oh! you might deem the spot

The spacious cavern of some virgin mine,

Deep in the womb of earth—where the gems grow,

And diamonds put forth radiant rods and bud

With amethyst and topaz—and the place

Lit up, most royally, with the pure beam

That dwells in them. Or haply the vast hall

Of fairy palace, that outlasts the night,

And fades not in the glory of the sun;—

Where crystal columns send forth slender shafts

And crossing arches; and fantastic aisles

Wind from the sight in brightness, and are lost

Among the crowded pillars. Raise thine eye;

Thou seest no cavern roof; no palace vault;

There the blue sky and the white drifting cloud

Look in. Again the wildered fancy dreams

Of spouting fountains, frozen as they rose,

And fixed, with all their branching jets, in air,

And all their sluices sealed. All, all is light;

Light without shade. But all shall pass away

With the next sun. From numberless vast trunks

Loosened, the crashing ice shall make a sound

Like the far roar of rivers, and the eve

Shall close o’er the brown woods as it was wont.


Hoosic River, North Adams, MA


Blue Line off the Blue Ridge


Hoosic Brown

 And it is pleasant, when the noisy streams

Are just set free, and milder suns melt off

The plashy snow, save only the firm drift

In the deep glen or the close shade of pines—

’Tis pleasant to behold the wreaths of smoke

Roll up among the maples of the hill,

Where the shrill sound of youthful voices wakes

The shriller echo, as the clear pure lymph,

That from the wounded trees, in twinkling drops,

Falls, mid the golden brightness of the morn,

Is gathered in with brimming pails, and oft,

Wielded by sturdy hands, the stroke of axe

Makes the woods ring. Along the quiet air,

Come and float calmly off the soft light clouds,

Such as you see in summer, and the winds

Scarce stir the branches. Lodged in sunny cleft,


Where the cold breezes come not, blooms alone

The little wind-flower, whose just opened eye

Is blue as the spring heaven it gazes at—

Startling the loiterer in the naked groves

With unexpected beauty, for the time

Of blossoms and green leaves is yet afar.

And ere it comes, the encountering winds shall oft

Muster their wrath again, and rapid clouds

Shade heaven, and bounding on the frozen earth

Shall fall their volleyed stores, rounded like hail

And white like snow, and the loud North again

Shall buffet the vexed forest in his rage.

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