XII
A Walk by the Water
Charlotte Smith

Let us walk where reeds are growing,
     By the alders in the mead;
Where the crystal streams are flowing,
     In whose waves the fishes feed.

There the golden carp is laving,
     With the trout, the perch, and bream;
Mark! their flexile fins are waving,
     As they glance along the stream.

Now they sink in deeper billows,
     Now upon the surface rise;
Or from under roots of willows,
     Dart to catch the water-flies.

´Midst the reeds and pebbles hiding,
     See the minnow and the roach;
Or by water-lillies gliding,
     Shun with fear our near approach.

Do not dread us, timid fishes,
     We have neither net nor hook;
Wanderers we, whose only wishes
     Are to read in nature’s book.

From Charlotte Smith, Conversations Introducing Poetry (London, 1804), 14-15.

Source: Stuart Curran, ed. The Poems of Charlotte Smith (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 180.