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TO A WATERFOWL


The story is told that on a late autumn afternoon, when the author was barely twenty-one years old, he started to walk from his home to a neighboring city, where he was about to begin the practice of law. He had been uncertain what occupation be should follow. His ambition led him to be a poet, but the writing of poetry would not make him a living. He wished to be an editor, but there was no one employing editors. He was not enthusiastic about taking up the practice of law. and was feeling lonely and forlorn. As he strolled along his way He saw flying toward the north a solitary wild fowl, "lone wandering, but not lost." The youthful poet took the lesson to himself and was cheered and comforted. When he reached his new abode that night be wrote "To a Waterfowl."

Whither, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.

Seeks'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean-side?

There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast---
The desert and illimitable air---
Lone wandering, but not lost




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