Here in this genial Mexic land,
Where soft is breeze and bright the skies,
Gay summer in December time,
The sportsman finds his paradise.
Here rustling corn-fields wide extend,
Fair cotton fields of snowy white,
With shallow pools o'er which the fowl
Circle and sweep in mazy flight.
From every reedy pond and swamp
The hovering multitudes upspring,
In long lines streaming down the air,
As o'er the flooded fields they wing;
Mallards and widgeon, redheads, teal,
In wedge-shap'd masses skim the reed,
Far-spinning o'er the ripen'd corn,
Or settling in moist lands to feed.
Gray brant in clamorous columns sweep,
Or, pitching, from the skies descend;
The bronze curlews in long, black ranks
On even stroke of pinions tend.
The jacksnipes swarm in boggy ground,
Hawks preen their wings in mesquite bush,
The winnowing dove-flocks dense abound,
Buzzards sail fast beneath the moon,
And pelicans from far lagoon.
The sand-hill crane hath winter home
In this serene, delicious clime;
Great flocks are ever in the air,
As high the azure vault they climb.
Where fields are open they are seen,
Cluster'd in dignified array,
Watching your step, with outstretch'd neck,
Or on the wing--a cloud of gray.
Fairest of all this feather'd tribe
Is great white crane, the whooping crane,
The wariest fowl of earth or air
That haunts the pool or sweep the plain.
Sometimes in zenith you behold
Their floating forms like specks of down,
In circles long, in spiral lines,
Sending their bugle-clamors down;
Sometimes commix'd with duskier cranes,
You see them pass in phalanx slow,
Keeping time-stroke with flapping wing,
Their plumage shining like the snow.
On every hand, duck, crane, and brant
Flutter and swing in devious flight,
On soaring plumes, in shining ranks,
Circling, or stooping to alight;
Their beat of wings is like the roar
Of surges on the rocky shore.