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    painting of a sprawled out man fly fishing

    Poem: A Fly from the Early Anglers

    Devin Johnston

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    In August, on a hot day,
    walk by the Tweed and mark what falls
    on the water, in some quiet place,
    beneath a bridge, above a bed
    of sand or gravell, wherever a Trout
    lies boldly gleaming neer the top
    and keeps watch for a wrinckle
    betwixt him and the skie.

    Take a brass-plate winding reele,
    and for your line, five horses hayres,
    and for your flye, a Cloudie Darke
    of wooll clipt from betweene the eares
    of sheepe, and whipt about with silk,
    his wings of the under mayle of the Mallard,
    his head, made black and suitable,
    fixed upon a peece of corke
    and wrapt so cunningly round the hooke
    that nothing could betray the steele
    but a hint of poynt and beard.

    At no time let your shadow
    lye upon the water
    or cause a stone to clap on stone.
    Be stil, and smoothly draw your flye
    to and fro in a kind of daunce
    as if it were alive.

    This poem, which is included in Johnston’s new book Far-Fetched  draws on Gervase Markham (ca. 1568–1637) and Izaak Walton (ca. 1594–1683). Artwork: John Singer Sargent, Val d'Aosta: A Man Fishing.

    painting of a sprawled out man fly fishing
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