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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
An Angler’s Wish
By Henry van Dyke (1852–1933)
 
From ‘The Builders and Other Poems’

I
WHEN tulips bloom in Union Square,
And timid breaths of vernal air
  Go wandering down the dusty town,
Like children lost in Vanity Fair;
 
When every long, unlovely row        5
Of westward houses stands aglow,
  And leads the eyes toward sunset skies
Beyond the hills where green trees grow;
 
Then weary seems the street parade,
And weary books, and weary trade:        10
  I’m only wishing to go a-fishing,—
For this the month of May was made.
 
II
I guess the pussy-willows now
Are creeping out on every bough
  Along the brook; and robins look        15
For early worms behind the plow.
 
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.        20
 
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?
 
III
I think the meadow-lark’s clear sound
        25
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,        30
  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        35
In days so sweet with music’s balm!
 
IV
’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:        40
 
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        45
From foaming pools, and try my art:
  No more I’m wishing—old-fashioned fishing,
And just a day on Nature’s heart.
 
 
CONTENTS · GENERAL INDEX · SONGS & LYRICS · BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY
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