Camping On The Cumberland

By George W. Doneghy

Where the Cumberland flows on its way to the South,
From its source in the hills half-way to its mouth–
When Autumn has come and tempered the rays
Of the hot blazing sun with its soft mellow haze,
Is an Eden of bliss and a place of delight,
When the minnows are good and the “jumpers” will bite,
And a fellow’s well fixed with a reel and a pole,
And other “equipments”–(of which I’ve been told)!

To camp there and fish for a week at a time,
And have the four-pounders just tug at your line,
Is a feeling akin to sweet visions we see
When we dream of that home where we all hope to be;
And no king in the world who sits on a throne
E’er felt the rare joy that thrills to the bone
When you throw out your line and it whizzes away,
Just cutting the water to foamy white spray!

He darts here and there, dead game to the last,
When he feels the barbed hook and finds that he’s fast,
And plunges and struggles, disdaining to yield,
Till exhausted at last to the bank he is reeled,
And carefully lifted from out the old stream,
While he flounders and gasps and his scaly sides gleam,
And you measure his length and guess at his weight–
(Five inches too long and a pound too great)!

And when shadows of evening are gathering around,
And the sun with pure gold each hill-top has crowned,
Then pick up your trappings and leisurely wend
Your way back to camp, above the long bend,
Where the cook has prepared a supper, I trow,
Ne’er dreamt of in thoughts of Delmonico!
And you’ll sit there and eat for an hour or more
With an appetite keen–and unheard of before!

Now bring out your pipe and fill up the bowl,
And loll there and smoke till it seems that the soul
Is wafted away like the ringlets that rise
As blue as the dome of the star-jeweled skies!
Then roll in a blanket with your feet to the blaze,
And the croak of the frogs and the ripple that plays
Will lull you to sleep with music as sweet
As that of the song when the angels you greet!

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