Letter VI. From The Wild Duck To The Tame Duck. (The Bird And Insects' Post-Office.)

Robert Bloomfield 1766 (Honington) – 1823 (Shefford)

Dated Lincoln and Ely Fens.
I suppose I must call you so, though I declare I know not how we are related. But, though I am thought so very wild and shy, I have still a kind of fellow-feeling for you; and, if you have not gone to the spit before this comes to you, I should be glad of your reply in a friendly way. You know very well that you are intended to be eaten, and so are we - when they can catch us. I understand that you never fly and that you seldom waddle above a meadow's length from your pond, where you keep puddling and groping from daylight till dark. This, I assure you, is not the life that I lead. We fly together in vast numbers in the night, for many miles over this flat, wet country; so, as to water, we have an inexhaustible store: we may swim ourselves tired. But, I dare say, every station of our duck-lives is subject to some disadvantages and some calamities. Thus, with all our wildness, we are not secure; for we are taken sometimes by hundreds in a kind of trap which is called a decoy.
Some of our tribe have been made tame like you (but I hope you are not so false-hearted), and then their masters feed them plentifully, in a place contrived on purpose, with a narrow entrance, with which these traitor ducks are well acquainted, so that they can pass in and out at a place we strangers should never have thought of. They are sent out in the dusk of the evening, when they soon join with large companies of us strangers; and knowing, as they do, their way home, and that they shall find food, they set off, close at each other's tails, along a ditch, or watercourse, and we fools follow them.
The entrance, as far as I could see of it, is very narrow; for I have been twice within a hair's breadth of being caught, and do not pretend to know all about it; but I wish heartily that every duck and drake in the country - ay, and every one of our allies, the geese, too, could say as much - could say that "they had twice been on the verge of destruction by keeping bad company, but had escaped."
What becomes of my companions, when taken, I think I have heard pretty accurately; for there is somewhere a very large assemblage of fellow-creatures to those who catch us, and whose demand seems never to be satisfied. Well, never mind, cousin; I am determined to fly, and swim too, as long as I can, and I advise you to do the same, and make the most of your day.
Hoping to hear from you, I am, affectionately, your wild cousin.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:26 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme X X X X X X
Characters 2,489
Words 485
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

Robert Bloomfield

Robert Bloomfield was an English poet whose work is appreciated in the context of other self-educated writers such as Stephen Duck Mary Collier and John Clare more…

All Robert Bloomfield poems | Robert Bloomfield Books

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