To F. L.

by Andrew Lang

Compleat Angler

I mind that Forest Shepherd’s saw,
For, when men preached of Heaven, quoth he,
“It’s a’ that’s bricht, and a’ that’s braw,
But Bourhope’s guid eneuch for me!”

Beneath the green deep-bosomed hills
That guard Saint Mary’s Loch it lies,
The silence of the pasture fills
That shepherd’s homely paradise.

Enough for him his mountain lake,
His glen the burn went singing through,
And Rowfant, when the thrushes wake,
May well seem good enough for you.

For all is old, and tried, and dear,
And all is fair, and round about
The brook that murmurs from the mere
Is dimpled with the rising trout.

But when the skies of shorter days
Are dark and all the ways are mire,
How bright upon your books the blaze
Gleams from the cheerful study fire,

 On quartos where our fathers read,
Enthralled, the book of Shakespeare’s play,
On all that Poe could dream of dread,
And all that Herrick sang of gay!

Fair first editions, duly prized,
Above them all, methinks, I rate
The tome where Walton’s hand revised
His wonderful receipts for bait!

 Happy, who rich in toys like these
Forgets a weary nation’s ills,
Who from his study window sees
The circle of the Sussex hills!




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