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Hunting the Grizzly Bear

by Isaac McLellan

Ursus Horibilis―the grizzly bear
Hath range from Mexico to Canadian realm,
From Rocky Mountains to Pacific seas,
And ever will the mightiest foe o'erwhelm.

Whether in forest or on granite height
The conflict rages, the relentless fight,
In size, in strength, ferocity supreme,
It is the monarch of all animal life;
E'en man himself oft yieldeth to its sway,
Shrinks from encounter in the fearful strife.
Men claim the lion as the desert's king,
Yet the great grizzly is the lion's peer,
For grizzly, wounded, would its foe pursue,
But leo hurt would pause in its career.
He is the bear of mountain fastnesses,
As the black bear has home in wood and plain,
Yet oft the grizzly roams where food is found,
Whether on shrubby plain, or wood-domain.
'Tis denizen of all States in farthest West,
It slays the bison by Montana's founts,
Its muffled roar disturbs Nevada's wilds,
Its sway prevails o'er the Wind-River mounts,
Its home is made 'mid craggy cliffs and peaks,
Where Mountain-goat and Big-horn sheep abide,
And there in dark ravine and canyon grim
They prowl they ravage, with their mighty stride.
The eagle and the vulture wheel above,
But no life else their domains may invade,
Save when at times the daring hunter comes
With deadly rifle and the bowie-blade.
No fear of mortal art, or human power,
Hath this grand monster in his wild retreat,
For arm'd with fangs and claws like sabre keen,
He dreads no valorous assaults to meet.
Its taloned paw, its massive jaw will rend
The lordly bison at one trenchant blow;
And the swart Indian, with his shaft and spear,
Shrinks from the presence of such dangerous foe,
And yet no prouder trophy he may wear
Than necklace of the claws of grizzly bear.
In winter's frozen time it hibernates,
Yet then, at times, he roams the waste for food,
Then wild with hunger, desperate in rage
'Tis death to meet him in his savage mood;
For then with hoarse and drum-like roar he strides,
With voice like giants of a fairy tale
He makes the charge, and woe betide the man,
Save for escape some tall tree may avail;
For the grand brute, with courage so sublime,
May ne'er with clumsy limbs the branches climb!