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Little Rivers Henry van Dyke

I. Prelude: An Angler's Wish In Town

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When tulips bloom in Union Square,
And timid breaths of vernal air
    Are wandering down the dusty town,
Like children lost in Vanity Fair;

When every long, unlovely row
Of westward houses stands aglow
    And leads the eyes toward sunset skies,
Beyond the hills where green trees grow;

Then weary is the street parade,
And weary books, and weary trade:
    I'm only wishing to go a-fishing;
For this the month of May was made.

I guess the pussy-willows now
Are creeping out on every bough
    Along the brook; and robins look
For early worms behind the plough.

The thistle-birds have changed their dun
For yellow coats to match the sun;
    And in the same array of flame
The Dandelion Show's begun.

The flocks of young anemones
Are dancing round the budding trees:
    Who can help wishing to go a-fishing
In days as full of joy as these?

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I think the meadow-lark's clear sound
Leaks upward slowly from the ground,
    While on the wing the bluebirds ring
Their wedding-bells to woods around:

The flirting chewink calls his dear
Behind the bush; and very near,
    Where water flows, where green grass grows,
Song-sparrows gently sing, "Good cheer:"

And, best of all, through twilight's calm
The hermit-thrush repeats his psalm:
    How much I'm wishing to go a-fishing
In days so sweet with music's balm!

'Tis not a proud desire of mine;
I ask for nothing superfine;
    No heavy weight, no salmon great,
To break the record, or my line:

Only an idle little stream,
Whose amber waters softly gleam,
    Where I may wade, through woodland shade,
And cast the fly, and loaf, and dream:

Only a trout or two, to dart
From foaming pools, and try my art:
    No more I'm wishing--old-fashioned fishing,
And just a day on Nature's heart.

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Little Rivers
Henry van Dyke

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