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Maurice Thompson

In the Haunts of Bass and Bream

Dreams come true, and everything

Is fresh and lusty in the spring.

In groves that smell like ambergris,

Wind-songs, bird-songs, never cease.

Go with me down by the stream,

Haunt of bass and purple bream;

Feel the pleasure, keen and sweet,

When the cool waves lap your feet;

Catch the breath of moss and mould,

Hear the grosbeak's whistle bold;

See the heron all alone

Midstream on a slippery stone,

Or, on some decaying log,

Spearing snail or water-frog.

See the shoals of sun-perch shine

Among the pebbles smooth and fine,

Whilst the sprawlink turtles swim

In the eddies cool and dim!

The busy nuthatch climbs his tree,

Around the great bole spirally,

Peeping into wrinkles gray,

Under ruffled lichens gay,

Lazily piping one sharp note

From his silver mailed throat;

And down the wind the catbird's song

A slender medley trails along.

Here a grackle chirping low,

There a crested vireo;

Deep in tangled underbrush

Flits the shadowy hermit-thrush;

Coos the dove, the robin trills,

The crow caws from the airy hills;

Purple finch and pewee gray,

Bluebird, swallow, oriole gay,—

Every tongue of Nature sings;

The air is palpitant with wings.

Halcyon prophecies come to pass

In the haunts of bream and bass.

Bubble, bubble, flows the stream,

Like an old tune through a dream.

Halcyon laughs and cuckoo cries;

Through its leaves the plane-tree sighs.

Bubble, bubble flows the stream,

Here a glow and there a gleam;

Coolness all about me creeping,

Fragrance all my senses steeping,—

Spicewood, sweet-gum, sassafras,

Calamus and water-grass,

Giving up their pungent smells,

Drawn from Nature's secret wells;

On the cool breath of the morn,

Perfume of the cock-spur thorn,

Green spathes of the dragon-root,

Indian turnip's tender shoot,

Dogwood, red-bud, elder, ash,

Snowy gleam and purple flash,

Hillside thickets, densely green,

That the partridge revels in!

Out of a giant tulip-tree

A great gay blossom falls on me

Old gold and fire its petals are,

It flashes like a falling star.

A big blue heron flying by

Looks at me with a greedy eye.

I see a striped squirrel shoot

Into a hollow maple root

A bumblebee with mail all rust,

And thighs puffed out with anther-dust,

Clasps a shrinking bloom about,

And draws her amber sweetness out.

Bubble, bubble, flows the stream,

Like low music through a dream.