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The Wild Turkey

by Isaac McLellan

These noble birds that did abound
Innumerous over Northern ground―
Victims so oft to northern sport―
Now seek in southern realms resort;
In Mexico, in Texas State,
Their numbers are supremely great.
Where strutting, gobbling flocks are seen,
Most frequent in the forests green,
And there oft thunder-like are heard,
The flappings of the turkey bird.

Seek them where gloomy shadows fall
Beneath the woodland dim and tall;
In the dense alder-brakes, or where
The dark pines lift their spears in air,
Where slow or winding rivulet creeps,
Or swift thro' bushy ravine sweeps.
Hid in tall grass that spreads around,
Your call deceptive, faintly sound,
And soon you hear each answering note,
From the embowering thickets float;
Soon will perceive the cautious game
Step forth―then steady be your aim.

A hunter, ere the dawning day,
Flushes with blaze the forest's way,
Selects his ambush near a wood,
Where roosting, rest the noble brood.
'Tis lovely morn of early spring,
That gilds the earth with blossoming;
The violets and daisies white,
Enamel earth with colorings bright,
The red-buds with their pinkish spray,
Entwine the trees with garlands gay;
The humid air holds odors still,
Of wild-plum blooms o'er plain and hill,
While snowy dogwood blossoms cling
To branch, the bridal-wreaths of Spring.
Then all the wood-bowers teem with life,
With wild-wood melodies, are rife,
Then sudden from a dense tree top,
On dashing wing the turkeys drop,
Skim in wide circles down the air,
Then sink to earth the feast to share,
While quick the fowler's shot is heard
And bleeding, struggling dies the bird.