The Coleraine Salmon Leap

"So numerous are the fish frequenting this river, that the average amount is estimated at £1,000 per annum; and on one, occasion 1,500 salmon were taken at a single drag of the net."—I, however, have only celebrated the exploits of a single fisher.

I remember a curious exploit of a gentleman, who went out in the morning to shoot, and shot a salmon; in the afternoon to fish, and caught a hare. The fact was, there had been a flood, which had dashed a salmon on the banks, where a gun was the readiest means of despatching it. The same flood had swept away a hare, and the line furnished the means of its capture.


I was dreaming that I went
Through the ocean element,
Like a conqueror on my way,
Shark and sword-fish were the prey;
With a spear I smote the waves
Down amid the coral caves.
I have wakened,—let me go
Where the mountain torrents flow.

  I will realize my dream
In the dashing of the stream;
Pouring mid the summer woods
All the gathered winter floods;
When the ice and when the snow
Melt into a sunny flow:
Mid the bright waves leaping forth
Comes the salmon from the north.

  Let the meaner angler seek,
In the willow-hidden creek,
For the trout whose spotted side
Crimsons like a star the tide;
Let him mid dark waters search
For the carp and for the perch;
While the silver graylings shiver
Like bright arrows in a quiver.

  Mine a nobler prey shall be,
Guest from yonder sounding sea,
Comes the salmon proud and strong,
Darting like a ray along.
For his lure, the artful fly
Does the peacock’s plume supply;
Royal bird, whose radiant wing
Suiteth with the river king.

  See, he bears the line away,
Round him flies the snowy spray.
I have given him length and line,
One last struggle, he is mine.
Fling the green arbutus bough
On the glowing ashes now;
Let the cup with red wine foam,—
I have brought the salmon home.
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Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Letitia Elizabeth Landon was an English poet. Born 14th August 1802 at 25 Hans Place, Chelsea, she lived through the most productive period of her life nearby, at No.22. A precocious child with a natural gift for poetry, she was driven by the financial needs of her family to become a professional writer and thus a target for malicious gossip (although her three children by William Jerdan were successfully hidden from the public). In 1838, she married George Maclean, governor of Cape Coast Castle on the Gold Coast, whence she travelled, only to die a few months later (15th October) of a fatal heart condition. Behind her post-Romantic style of sentimentality lie preoccupations with art, decay and loss that give her poetry its characteristic intensity and in this vein she attempted to reinterpret some of the great male texts from a woman’s perspective. Her originality rapidly led to her being one of the most read authors of her day and her influence, commencing with Tennyson in England and Poe in America, was long-lasting. However, Victorian attitudes led to her poetry being misrepresented and she became excluded from the canon of English literature, where she belongs. more…

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"The Coleraine Salmon Leap" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 31 May 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/52582/the-coleraine-salmon-leap>.

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