Home  »  library  »  poem  »  The Fish-Hawk, or Osprey

C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Fish-Hawk, or Osprey

By Alexander Wilson (1766–1813)

  • THE REGULAR arrival of this noted bird at the vernal equinox, when the busy season of fishing commences, adds peculiar interest to its first appearance, and procures it many a benediction from the fishermen. With the following lines, illustrative of these circumstances, I shall conclude its history:—

  • Soon as the sun, great ruler of the year,

    Bends to our northern clime his bright career,

    And from the caves of ocean calls from sleep

    The finny shoals and myriads of the deep;

    When freezing tempests back to Greenland ride,

    And day and night the equal hours divide:

    True to the season, o’er our sea-beat shore,

    The sailing osprey high is seen to soar,

    With broad unmoving wing, and circling slow,

    Marks each loose straggler in the deep below;

    Sweeps down like lightning, plunges with a roar,

    And bears his struggling victim to the shore.

    The long-housed fisherman beholds with joy,

    The well-known signals of his rough employ;

    And as he bears his nets and oars along,

    Thus hails the welcome season with a song:—