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The Angler - Poem by Dora Sigerson Shorter

When saucy Celia came my way
I knew my sport was ended,
So ceased my cunning rod to play,
Since she the fish befriended.
Across my eyes her tangled locks
She bound with childish laughter,
'Here is the shadow, sir,' said she;
'Now, who doth follow after?'
''Tis saucy Celia, she,' quoth I,
'Who comes all uninvited;
And with much noisy merriment
Hath all my fish affrighted!'
'Not so.' She pointed to the stream,
Where peeped her sweet reflection;
'If you would fish, good sir, behold,
There's fishing in perfection.'
I smiled upon her winsome face
And pulled the tresses straying.
'Nay, child,' I said, 'the baby fish
Are never worth the slaying.'
Quick from my hand the lock she tore,
Her face was sore offended;
'Farewell,' she said, 'thou foolish youth,
Our friendship is all ended.

'If thou my hand should seek to claim
I'll leave thee lone in sorrow;
What thou to-day may'st cast aside,
Thou may'st desire to-morrow.'
She stood apart, the little maid,
Because I did offend her;
And there bound up her golden locks,
With hands all white and slender.
When Celia thus bound up her hair,
I gazed in awe and wonder,
And chid my foolish heart the while
To think it e'er had shunned her.
The dainty face with its disdain,
The tearful eye averted,
The lips that trembled on their speech
By all their mirth deserted.
Till Celia first bound up her hair
In one gold coil above her,
I did not know so sweet a shape
Was hidden 'neath its cover.
So proudly poised the little head,
On dimpled neck and shoulder,
The timid touch of womanhood
All sudden seemed to hold her.
'Sweet maid,' I cried—a fear awoke!—
'Oh, give me no refusing;
Let down thy silken locks and be
The Celia I am losing.
'Come, thou shalt woo the silly fish'—
To her my rod I tended,
'And oh, have pity on thy catch,
Ere their brief life be ended.'

'Twas saucy Celia smiled on me,
All banished was her sorrow
'To-day I'll loose the silly fish,
For I shall kill to-morrow.'


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