The Angler’s Farewell by Thomas Hood

“Resigned, I kissed the rod.”

Well! I think it is time to put up!
For it does not accord with my notions,
Wrist, elbow, and chine,
Stiff from throwing the line,
To take nothing at last by my motions!

I ground-bait my way as I go,
And dip in at each watery dimple;
But however I wish
To inveigle the fish,
To my gentle they will not play simple!

Though my float goes so swimmingly on,
My bad luck never seems to diminish;
It would seem that the Bream
Must be scarce in the stream,
And the Chub, tho’ it’s chubby, be thinnish!

Not a Trout there can be in the place,
Not a Grayling or Rud worth the mention,
And although at my hook
With attention I look,
I can ne’er see my hook with a Tench on!

At a brandling once Gudgeon would gape,
But they seem upon different terms now;
Have they taken advice
Of the “Council of Nice,”
And rejected their “Diet of Worms,” now?

In vain my live minnow I spin,
Not a Pike seems to think it worth snatching;
For the gut I have brought,
I had better have bought
A good rope that was used to Jack-ketching!

Not a nibble has ruffled my cork,
It is vain in this river to search then;
I may wait till it’s night,
Without any bite
And at roost-time have never a Perch then!

No Roach can I meet with–no Bleak,
Save what in the air is so sharp now;
Not a Dace have I got,
And I fear it is not
“Carpe diem,” a day for the Carp now!

See also  Epistle To John Rankine by Robert Burns

Oh! there is not a one-pound prize
To be got in this fresh-water-lottery!
What then can I deem
Of so fishless a stream
But that ’tis–like St. Mary’s–Ottery!

For an Eel I have learned how to try,
By a method of Walton’s own showing–
But a fisherman feels
Little prospect of Eels,
In a path that’s devoted to towing!

I have tried all the water for miles,
Till I’m weary of dipping and casting,
And hungry and faint–
Let the Fancy just paint
What it is, without Fish, to be Fasting!

And the rain drizzles down very fast,
While my dinner-time sounds from a far bell–
So, wet to the skin,
I’ll e’en back to my inn,
Where at least I am sure of a Bar-bell!

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