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Voices for the Speechless

Part 3 out of 5

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I stand as I was used to stand,
Where cattle-bells with drowsy chime
Make music in the quiet land.

Fast fades the dream in distance dim,
Tears rouse me with a sudden shock;
Lo! at my door, erect and trim,
The postman gives his double knock.

And a great city's lumbering noise
Arises with confusing hum,
And whistling shrill of butchers' boys;
My day begins, my bird is dumb.

_Temple Bar._

* * * * *


Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down:
The voice I heard this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that ofttimes hath
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! Adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side: and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:--do I wake or sleep?


* * * * *


Color and form may be conveyed by words,
But words are weak to tell the heavenly strains
That from the throats of these celestial birds
Rang through the woods and o'er the echoing plains;
There was the meadow-lark with voice as sweet,
But robed in richer raiment than our own;
And as the moon smiled on his green retreat,
The painted nightingale sang out alone.

Words cannot echo music's winged note,
One voice alone exhausts their utmost power;
'Tis that strange bird, whose many-voiced throat
Mocks all his brethren of the woodlawn bower,
To whom, indeed, the gift of tongues is given,
The musical, rich tongues that fill the grove;
Now, like the lark, dropping his notes from heaven,
Now cooing the soft notes of the dove.

Oft have I seen him, scorning all control,
Winging his arrowy flight, rapid and strong,
As if in search of his evanished soul,
Lost in the gushing ecstasy of song;
And as I wandered on and upward gazed,
Half lost in admiration, half in fear,
I left the brothers wondering and amazed,
Thinking that all the choir of heaven was near.


* * * * *


Meanwhile the tepid caves, and fens, and shores,
Their brood as numerous hatch from the egg that soon
Bursting with kindly rupture, forth disclosed
Their callow young; but feathered soon and fledge
They summed their pens; and, soaring the air sublime,
With clang despised the ground, under a cloud
In prospect: there the eagle and the stork
On cliffs and cedar-tops their eyries build;
Part loosely wing the region; part, more wise,
In common ranged in figure, wedge their way,
Intelligent of seasons, and set forth
Their aery caravan, high over seas
Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing
Easing their flight; so steers the prudent crane
Her annual voyage, borne on winds; the air
Floats as they pass, fanned with unnumbered plumes:
From branch to branch the smaller birds with song
Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings
Till even; nor then the solemn nightingale
Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft lays:
Others, on silver lakes and rivers, bathed
Their downy breasts; the swan with arched neck
Between her white wings, mantling proudly, rows
Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit
The dank, and, rising on stiff pennons, tower
The mid aerial sky: others on ground
Walked firm; the crested cock, whose clarion sounds
The silent hours; and the other, whose gay train
Adorns him, colored with the florid hue
Of rainbows and starry eyes.

MILTON: _Paradise Lost_, book 7.

* * * * *


I would I were a note
From a sweet bird's throat!
I'd float on forever,
And melt away never!
I would I were a note
From a sweet bird's throat!

But I am what I am!
As content as a lamb.
No new state I'll covet;
For how long should I love it?
No, I'll be what I am,--
As content as a lamb!

_Poetry for Children._

* * * * *


Emerald-plumed, ruby-throated,
Flashing like a fair star
Where the humid, dew-becoated,
Sun-illumined blossoms are--
See the fleet humming-bird!
Hark to his humming, heard
Loud as the whirr of a fairy king's car!
Sightliest, sprightliest, lightest, and brightest one,
Child of the summer sun,
Shining afar!

Brave little humming-bird!
Every eye blesses thee;
Sunlight caresses thee,
Forest and field are the fairer for thee.
Blooms, at thy coming stirred,
Bend on each brittle stem,
Nod to the little gem,
Bow to the humming-bird, frolic and free.
Now around the woodbine hovering,
Now the morning-glory covering,
Now the honeysuckle sipping,
Now the sweet clematis tipping,
Now into the bluebell dipping;
Hither, thither, flashing, bright'ning,
Like a streak of emerald lightning:
Round the box, with milk-white plox;
Round the fragrant four-o'-clocks;
O'er the crimson quamoclit,
Lightly dost thou wheel and flit;
Into each tubed throat
Dives little Ruby-throat.

Bright-glowing airy thing,
Light-going fairy thing,
Not the grand lyre-bird
Rivals thee, splendid one!--
Fairy-attended one,
Green-coated fire-bird!
Shiniest fragile one,
Tiniest agile one,
Falcon and eagle tremble before thee!
Dim is the regal peacock and lory,
And the pheasant, iridescent,
Pales before the gleam and glory
Of the jewel-change incessant,
When the sun is streaming o'er thee!

Hear thy soft humming,
Like a sylph's drumming!


* * * * *


A little brown mother-bird sat in her nest,
With four sleepy birdlings tucked under her breast,
And her querulous chirrup fell ceaseless and low,
While the wind rocked the lilac-tree nest to and fro.

"Lie still, little nestlings! lie still while I tell,
For a lullaby story, a thing that befell
Your plain little mother one midsummer morn,
A month ago, birdies--before you were born.

"I'd been dozing and dreaming the long summer night,
Till the dawn flushed its pink through the waning moonlight;
When--I wish you could hear it once!--faintly there fell
All around me the silvery sound of a bell.

"Then a chorus of bells! So, with just half an eye,
I peeped from the nest, and those lilies close by,
With threads of a cobweb, were swung to and fro
By three little rollicking midgets below.

"Then the air was astir as with humming-birds' wings!
And a cloud of the tiniest, daintiest things
That ever one dreamed of, came fluttering where
A cluster of trumpet-flowers swayed in the air.

"As I sat all a-tremble, my heart in my bill--
'I will stay by the nest,' thought I, 'happen what will;'
So I saw with these eyes by that trumpet-vine fair,
A whole fairy bridal train poised in the air.

"Such a bit of a bride! Such a marvel of grace!
In a shimmer of rainbows and gossamer lace;
No wonder the groom dropped his diamond-dust ring,
Which a little elf-usher just caught with his wing.

"Then into a trumpet-flower glided the train,
And I thought (for a dimness crept over my brain,
And I tucked my head under my wing), 'Deary me!
What a sight for a plain little mother like me!'"


* * * * *


A lazy hen, the story goes,
Loquacious, pert, and self-conceited,
Espied a bee upon a rose,
And thus the busy insect greeted:

"I've marked you well for many a day,
In garden blooms and meadow clover;
Now here, now there, in wanton play,
From morn till night an idle rover.

"While I discreetly bide at home,
A faithful wife, the best of mothers,
About the fields you idly roam,
Without the least regard for others.

"While I lay eggs and hatch them out,
You seek the flowers most sweet and fragrant;
And, sipping honey, stroll about,
At best a good for nothing vagrant."

"Nay," said the bee, "you do me wrong:
I'm useful, too,--perhaps you doubt it:
Because, though toiling all day long,
I scorn to make a fuss about it.

"Come now with me and see my hive,
And note how folks may work in quiet;
To useful arts much more alive
Than you with all your cackling riot!"


* * * * *


When the willows gleam along the brooks,
And the grass grows green in sunny nooks,
In the sunshine and the rain
I hear the robin in the lane
Singing "Cheerily,
Cheer up, cheer up;
Cheerily, cheerily,
Cheer up."

But the snow is still
Along the walls and on the hill.
The days are cold, the nights forlorn,
For one is here and one is gone.
"Tut, tut. Cheerily,
Cheer up, cheer up;
Cheerily, cheerily,
Cheer up."

When spring hopes seem to wane,
I hear the joyful strain--
A song at night, a song at morn,
A lesson deep to me is borne,
Hearing, "Cheerily,
Cheer up, cheer up;
Cheerily, cheerily,
Cheer up."

_Masque of Poets._

* * * * *


Rollicking Robin is here again.
What does he care for the April rain?
Care for it? Glad of it. Doesn't he know
That the April rain carries off the snow,
And coaxes out leaves to shadow his nest,
And washes his pretty red Easter vest,
And makes the juice of the cherry sweet,
For his hungry little robins to eat?
"Ha! ha! ha!" hear the jolly bird laugh.
"That isn't the best of the story, by half!"

Gentleman Robin, he walks up and down,
Dressed in orange-tawney and black and brown.
Though his eye is so proud and his step so firm,
He can always stoop to pick up a worm.
With a twist of his head, and a strut and a hop,
To his Robin-wife, in the peach-tree top,
Chirping her heart out, he calls: "My dear
You don't earn your living! Come here! Come here!
Ha! ha! ha! Life is lovely and sweet;
But what would it be if we'd nothing to eat?"

Robin, Sir Robin, gay, red-vested knight,
Now you have come to us, summer's in sight.
You never dream of the wonders you bring,--
Visions that follow the flash of your wing.
How all the beautiful By-and-by
Around you and after you seems to fly!
Sing on, or eat on, as pleases your mind!
Well have you earned every morsel you find.
"Aye! Ha! ha! ha!" whistles robin. "My dear,
Let us all take our own choice of good cheer!"


* * * * *


There's a call upon the housetop, an answer from the plain,
There's a warble in the sunshine, a twitter in the rain.
And through my heart, at sound of these,
There comes a nameless thrill,
As sweet as odor to the rose,
Or verdure to the hill;
And all the joyous mornings
My heart pours forth this strain:
"God bless the dear old robins
Who have come back again."

For they bring a thought of summer, of dreamy, precious days,
Of king-cups in the summer, making a golden haze;
A longing for the clover blooms,
For roses all aglow,
For fragrant blossoms where the bees
With droning murmurs go;
I dream of all the beauties
Of summer's golden reign,
And sing: "God keep the robins
Who have come back again."


* * * * *


"Now, robins, my darlings, I think it is best,"
Said old mother bird, "that you all quit the nest.
You've grown very plump, and the nest is so small
That really there isn't quite room for you all.

"The day is so fair and the sun is so bright,
I think I can teach you to fly before night:
And, when you have learned, you can go where you please,
As high as the gable,--yes! high as the trees.

"Come, Dickey, hop out, and stand up here by me;
The rest of you stand on the branch of the tree;
Don't be frightened, my dears; there's no danger at all,
For mother will not let her dear birdies fall.

"Now all spread your wings. Ah! but that is too high;
Just see how _I_ do it. Now, all again try!
Ah! that is much better. Now try it once more.
Bravo! much better than ever before!

"Now flutter about, up and down, here and there:
My dears, you'll be flying before you're aware.
Now carefully drop from the tree to the ground;
There's nothing to fear, for there's grass all around.

"All starting but Robbie. 'Afraid you shall fall?'
Ah! don't be a craven, be bravest of all.
Now up and now down, now away to yon spire:
Go on: don't be frightened: fly higher and higher."

* * * * *

"I've waited one hour, right here on the tree:
Not one of my robins has come back to me.
How soon they forget all the trouble they bring!
Never mind: I'll fly up on the tree-top and sing."


* * * * *


Oh, where is the boy, dressed in jacket of gray,
Who climbed up a tree in the orchard to-day,
And carried my three little birdies away?
They hardly were dressed,
When he took from the nest
My three little robins, and left me bereft.

O wrens! have you seen, in your travels to-day,
A very small boy, dressed in jacket of gray,
Who carried my three little robins away?
He had light-colored hair,
And his feet were both bare.
Ah me! he was cruel and mean, I declare.

O butterfly! stop just one moment, I pray:
Have you seen a boy dressed in jacket of gray,
Who carried my three little birdies away?
He had pretty blue eyes,
And was small of his size.
Ah! he must be wicked, and not very wise.

O bees! with your bags of sweet nectarine, stay;
Have you seen a boy dressed in jacket of gray,
And carrying three little birdies away?
Did he go through the town,
Or go sneaking aroun'
Through hedges and byways, with head hanging down?

O boy with blue eyes, dressed in jacket of gray!
If you will bring back my three robins to-day,
With sweetest of music the gift I'll repay;
I'll sing all day long
My merriest song,
And I will forgive you this terrible wrong.

Bobolinks! did you see my birdies and me--
How happy we were on the old apple-tree?
Until I was robbed of my young, as you see?
Oh, how can I sing,
Unless he will bring
My three robins back, to sleep under my wing?

MRS. C. F. BERRY: _Songs for Our Darlings_.

* * * * *


The farmer looked at his cherry-tree,
With thick buds clustered on every bough.
"I wish I could cheat the robins," said he.
"If somebody only would show me how!

"I'll make a terrible scarecrow grim,
With threatening arms and with bristling head;
And up in the tree I'll fasten him,
To frighten them half to death," he said.

He fashioned a scarecrow all tattered and torn,--
Oh, 'twas a horrible thing to see!
And very early, one summer morn,
He set it up in his cherry-tree.

The blossoms were white as the light sea-foam,
The beautiful tree was a lovely sight;
But the scarecrow stood there so much at home
That the birds flew screaming away in fright.

But the robins, watching him day after day,
With heads on one side and eyes so bright,
Surveying the monster, began to say,
"Why should this fellow our prospects blight?

"He never moves round for the roughest weather,
He's a harmless, comical, tough old fellow.
Let's all go into the tree together,
For he won't budge till the fruit is mellow!"

So up they flew; and the sauciest pair
'Mid the shady branches peered and perked,
Selected a spot with the utmost care,
And all day merrily sang and worked.

And where do you think they built their nest?
In the scarecrow's pocket, if you please,
That, half-concealed on his ragged breast,
Made a charming covert of safety and ease!

By the time the cherries were ruby-red,
A thriving family hungry and brisk,
The whole long day on the ripe food fed.
'Twas so convenient! they saw no risk!

Until the children were ready to fly,
All undisturbed they lived in the tree;
For nobody thought to look at the guy
For a robin's flourishing family!


* * * * *


A little gray bird with a speckled breast,
Under my window has built his nest;
He sits on at twig and singeth clear
A song that overfloweth with cheer:
"Love! Love! Love!
Let us be happy, my love.
Sing of cheer."

Sweet and true are the notes of his song;
Sweet--and yet always full and strong,
True--and yet they are never sad,
Serene with that peace that maketh glad:
"Life! Life! Life!
Oh, what a blessing is life;
Life is glad!"

Of all the birds, I love thee best,
Dear Sparrow, singing of joy and rest;
Rest--but life and hope increase,
Joy--whose spring is deepest peace:
"Joy! Life! Love!
Oh, to love and live is joy,--
Joy and peace."

MISS HARRIET E. PAINE: _Bird Songs of New England._

* * * * *


A bubble of music floats
The slope of the hillside over--
A little wandering sparrow's notes--
On the bloom of yarrow and clover.
And the smell of sweet-fern and the bayberry-leaf
On his ripple of song are stealing;
For he is a chartered thief,
The wealth of the fields revealing.

One syllable, clear and soft
As a raindrop's silvery patter,
Or a tinkling fairy-bell, heard aloft,
In the midst of the merry chatter
Of robin and linnet and wren and jay,
One syllable, oft-repeated:
He has but a word to say,
And of that he will not be cheated.

The singer I have not seen;
But the song I arise and follow
The brown hills over, the pastures green,
And into the sunlit hollow.
With the joy of a lowly heart's content
I can feel my glad eyes glisten,
Though he hides in his happy tent,
While I stand outside and listen.

This way would I also sing,
My dear little hillside neighbor!
A tender carol of peace to bring
To the sunburnt fields of labor,
Is better than making a loud ado.
Trill on, amid clover and yarrow:
There's a heart-beat echoing you,
And blessing you, blithe little sparrow!


* * * * *


Glad to see you, little bird;
'Twas your little chirp I heard:
What did you intend to say?
"Give me something this cold day?"

That I will, and plenty too;
All the crumbs I saved for you.
Don't be frightened: here's a treat.
I will wait and see you eat.

Shocking tales I hear of you;
Chirp, and tell me, are they true?
Robbing all the summer long;
Don't you think it very wrong?

Thomas says you steal his wheat;
John complains his plums you eat,
Choose the ripest for your share,
Never asking whose they are?

But I will not try to know
What you did so long ago:
There's your breakfast; eat away;
Come and see me every day.

_Child's Book of Poetry._

* * * * *


Poor, sweet Piccola! Did you hear
What happened to Piccola, children dear?
'Tis seldom Fortune such favor grants
As fell to this little maid of France.

'Twas Christmas-time, and her parents poor
Could hardly drive the wolf from the door,
Striving with poverty's patient pain
Only to live till summer again.

No gifts for Piccola! Sad were they
When dawned the morning of Christmas Day;
Their little darling no joy might stir,
St. Nicholas nothing would bring to her!

But Piccola never doubted at all
That something beautiful must befall
Every child upon Christmas Day,
And so she slept till the dawn was gray.

And, full of faith, when at last she woke,
She stole to her shoe as the morning broke;
Such sounds of gladness tilled all the air,
'Twas plain St. Nicholas had been there!

In rushed Piccola sweet, half wild:
Never was seen such a joyful child.
"See what the good saint brought!" she cried,
And mother and father must peep inside.

Now such a story who ever heard?
There was a little shivering bird!
A sparrow, that in at the window flew,
Had crept into Piccola's tiny shoe!

"How good Piccola must have been!"
She cried as happy as any queen,
While the starving sparrow she fed and warmed,
And danced with rapture, she was so charmed.

Children, this story I tell to you,
Of Piccola sweet and her bird, is true.
In the far-off land of France, they say,
Still do they live to this very day.


* * * * *


Touch not the little sparrow who doth build
His home so near us. He doth follow us,
From spot to spot, amidst the turbulent town,
And ne'er deserts us. To all other birds
The woods suffice, the rivers, the sweet fields,
And Nature in her aspect mute and fair;
But he doth herd with men. Blithe servant! live,
Feed, and grow cheerful! on my window's ledge
I'll leave thee every morning some fit food
In payment for thy service.


* * * * *


A swallow in the spring
Came to our granary, and beneath the eaves
Essayed to make a nest, and there did bring
Wet earth and straw and leaves.

Day after day she toiled
With patient art; but, ere her work was crowned,
Some sad mishap the tiny fabric spoiled,
And dashed it to the ground.

She found the ruin wrought;
But, not cast down, forth from the place she flew,
And, with her mate, fresh earth and grasses brought,
And built her nest anew.

But scarcely had she placed
The last soft feather on its ample floor,
When wicked hands, on chance, again laid waste,
And wrought the ruin o'er.

But still her heart she kept,
And toiled again; and last night, hearing calls,
I looked,--and, lo! three little swallows slept
Within the earth-made walls.

What truth is here, O man!
Hath hope been smitten in its early dawn?
Have clouds o'ercast thy purpose, truth, or plan?
Have faith, and struggle on!


* * * * *


Once the Emperor Charles of Spain,
With his swarthy, grave commanders,
I forget in what campaign,
Long besieged, in mud and rain,
Some old frontier town of Flanders.

Up and down the dreary camp,
In great boots of Spanish leather,
Striding with a measured tramp,
These Hidalgos, dull and damp,
Cursed the Frenchmen, cursed the weather.

Thus as to and fro they went,
Over upland and through hollow,
Giving their impatience vent,
Perched upon the Emperor's tent,
In her nest, they spied a swallow.

Yes, it was a swallow's nest,
Built of clay and hair of horses,
Mane, or tail, or dragoon's crest,
Found on hedge-rows east and west,
After skirmish of the forces.

Then an old Hidalgo said,
As he twirled his gray mustachio,
"Sure this swallow overhead
Thinks the Emperor's tent a shed,
And the Emperor but a Macho!"

Hearing his imperial name
Coupled with those words of malice,
Half in anger, half in shame,
Forth the great campaigner came
Slowly from his canvas palace.

"Let no hand the bird molest,"
Said he solemnly, "nor hurt her!"
Adding then, by way of jest,
"Golondrina is my guest,
'Tis the wife of some deserter!"

Swift as bowstring speed, a shaft,
Through the camp was spread the rumor,
And the soldiers, as they quaffed
Flemish beer at dinner, laughed
At the Emperor's pleasant humor.

So unharmed and unafraid
Sat the swallow still and brooded,
Till the constant cannonade
Through the walls a breach had made,
And the siege was thus concluded.

Then the army, elsewhere bent,
Struck its tents as if disbanding,
Only not the Emperor's tent,
For he ordered, ere he went,
Very curtly, "Leave it standing!"

So it stood there all alone,
Loosely flapping, torn and tattered,
Till the brood was fledged and flown,
Singing o'er those walls of stone
Which the cannon-shot had shattered.


* * * * *


Thou too hast travelled, little fluttering thing--
Hast seen the world, and now thy weary wing
Thou too must rest.
But much, my little bird, couldst thou but tell,
I'd give to know why here thou lik'st so well
To build thy nest.

For thou hast passed fair places in thy flight;
A world lay all beneath thee where to light;
And, strange thy taste,
Of all the varied scenes that met thine eye--
Of all the spots for building 'neath the sky--
To choose this waste.

Did fortune try thee? was thy little purse
Perchance run low, and thou, afraid of worse,
Felt here secure?
Ah no! thou need'st not gold, thou happy one!
Thou know'st it not. Of all God's creatures, man
Alone is poor.

What was it, then? some mystic turn of thought,
Caught under German eaves, and hither brought,
Marring thine eye
For the world's loveliness, till thou art grown
A sober thing that dost but mope and moan,
Not knowing why?

Nay, if thy mind be sound, I need not ask,
Since here I see thee working at thy task
With wing and beak.
A well-laid scheme doth that small head contain,
At which thou work'st, brave bird, with might and main,
Nor more need'st seek.

In truth, I rather take it thou hast got
By instinct wise much sense about thy lot,
And hast small care
Whether an Eden or a desert be
Thy home, so thou remain'st alive, and free
To skim the air.

God speed thee, pretty bird; may thy small nest
With little ones all in good time be blest.
I love thee much;
For well thou managest that life of thine,
While I! oh, ask not what I do with mine!
Would I were such!


* * * * *


The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds.

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient, solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell forever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.


* * * * *


Forms of saints and kings are standing
The cathedral door above;
Yet I saw but one among them
Who hath soothed my soul with love.

In his mantle,--wound about him,
As their robes the sowers wind,--
Bore he swallows and their fledglings,
Flowers and weeds of every kind.

And so stands he calm and child-like,
High in wind and tempest wild;
Oh, were I like him exalted,
I would be like him, a child!

And my songs,--green leaves and blossoms,--
To the doors of heaven would bear,
Calling, even in storm and tempest,
Round me still these birds of air.


* * * * *


The bird let loose in eastern skies,
When hastening fondly home,
Ne'er stoops to earth her wing, nor flies
Where idle warblers roam;

But high she shoots through air and light,
Above all low delay,
Where nothing earthly bounds her flight,
Nor shadow dims her way.

So grant me, God, from every care
And stain of passion free,
Aloft, through Virtue's purer air,
To hold my course to thee!

No sin to cloud, no lure to stay
My soul, as home she springs;--
Thy sunshine on her joyful way,
Thy freedom in her wings!


* * * * *


There's a merry brown thrush sitting up in the tree.
"He's singing to me! He's singing to me!"
And what does he say, little girl, little boy?
"Oh, the world's running over with joy!
Don't you hear? Don't you see?
Hush! Look! In my tree
I'm as happy as happy can be!"

And the brown thrush keeps singing, "A nest do you see,
And five eggs, hid by me in the juniper-tree?
Don't meddle! don't touch! little girl, little boy,
Or the world will lose some of its joy!
Now I'm glad! now I'm free!
And always shall be,
If you never bring sorrow to me."

So the merry brown thrush sings away in the tree,
To you and to me, to you and to me;
And he sings all the day, little girl, little boy,
"Oh, the world's running over with joy!
Don't you know? don't you see?
But long it won't be,
Unless we are as good as can be?"


* * * * *


In the hot midsummer noontide,
When all other birds are sleeping,
Still one in the silent forest,
Like a sentry, watch in keeping,
Singing in the pine-tops spicy:
"I see, _I_ see, _I SEE_, _I_ SEE."

No one ever sees _you_, atom!
You are hidden too securely.
I have sought for hours to find you.
It is but to tease us, surely,
That you sing in pine-tops spicy:
"I see, _I_ see, _I SEE_, _I_ SEE."

HARRIET E. PAINE: _Bird Songs of New England._

* * * * *


Beside the cottage in which Ellen dwelt
Stands a tall ash-tree; to whose topmost twig
A thrush resorts, and annually chants,
At morn and evening from that naked perch,
While all the undergrove is thick with leaves,
A time-beguiling ditty, for delight
Of his fond partner, silent in the nest.
"Ah why," said Ellen, sighing to herself,
"Why do not words, and kiss, and solemn pledge,
And nature that is kind in woman's breast,
And reason that in man is wise and good,
And fear of Him who is a righteous Judge,--
Why do not these prevail for human life,
To keep two hearts together, that began
Their spring-time with one love, and that have need
Of mutual pity and forgiveness, sweet
To grant, or be received; while that poor bird,--
Oh come and hear him! Thou who hast to me
Been faithless, hear him, _though a lowly creature,
One of God's simple children that yet know not
The universal Parent, how he sings
As if he wished the firmament of heaven
Should listen, and give back to him the voice
Of his triumphant constancy and love;_
The proclamation that he makes, how far
His darkness doth transcend our fickle light!"


* * * * *


"Do you not hear the Aziola cry?
Methinks she must be nigh,"
Said Mary, as we sate
In dusk, ere stars were lit or candles brought,
And I, who thought,
This Aziola was some tedious woman,
Asked, "Who is Aziola?" How elate
I felt to know that it was nothing human,
No mockery of myself to fear or hate;
And Mary saw my soul,
And laughed and said, "Disquiet yourself not,
'Tis nothing but a little downy owl."

Sad Aziola! many an eventide
Thy music I had heard
By wood and stream, meadow and mountain-side,
And fields and marshes wide,
Such as nor voice, nor lute, nor wind, nor bird,
The soul ever stirred;
Unlike and far sweeter than them all.
Sad Aziola! from that moment I
Loved thee and thy sad cry.


* * * * *


This guest of summer,
The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breath
Smells wooingly here. No jutty, frieze,
Buttress, nor coigne of vantage, but this bird
Hath made his pendent bed, and procreant cradle.
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed
The air is delicate.

_Macbeth_, Act 1, Sc. 6.

* * * * *


How would you be
If He which is the top of Judgment should
But judge you as you are? Oh, think on that,
And Mercy then will breathe within your lips
Like man new made.

_Measure for Measure_, Act 2, Sc. 2.

* * * * *


Merrily singing on briar and weed,
Near to the nest of his little dame,
Over the mountain-side or mead,
Robert of Lincoln is telling his name.
Bob-o'-link, Bob-o'-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Snug and safe in that nest of ours,
Hidden among the summer flowers;
Chee, chee, chee.

Robert of Lincoln is gayly drest,
Wearing a bright-black wedding coat;
White are his shoulders, and white his crest,
Hear him call his merry note:
Bob-o'-link, Bob-o'-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Look what a nice new coat is mine,
Sure there was never a bird so fine;
Chee, chee, chee.

Six white eggs on a bed of hay,
Freckled with purple, a pretty sight!
There as the mother sits all day,
Robert is singing with all his might.
Nice good wife, that never goes out,
Keeping house while I frolic about.

Summer wanes,--the children are grown;
Fun and frolic no more he knows,
Robert of Lincoln's a humdrum crone:
Off he flies, and we sing as he goes,--
"When you can pipe in that merry old strain,
Robert of Lincoln come back again."


* * * * *


My little doves have left a nest
Upon an Indian tree,
Whose leaves fantastic take their rest
Or motion from the sea;
For, ever there, the sea-winds go
With sunlit paces to and fro.

The tropic flowers looked up to it,
The tropic stars looked down,
And there my little doves did sit,
With feathers softly brown,
And glittering eyes that showed their right
To general Nature's deep delight.

My little doves were ta'en away
From that glad nest of theirs,
Across an ocean rolling gray,
And tempest clouded airs.
My little doves,--who lately knew
The sky and wave by warmth and blue!

And now, within the city prison,
In mist and dullness pent,
With sudden upward look they listen
For sounds of past content--
For lapse of water, swell of breeze,
Or nut-fruit falling from the trees.

Soft falls their chant as on the nest
Beneath the sunny zone;
For love that stirred it in their breast
Has not aweary grown,
And 'neath the city's shade can keep
The well of music clear and deep.

So teach ye me the wisest part,
My little doves! to move
Along the city-ways with heart
Assured by holy love,
And vocal with such songs as own
A fountain to the world unknown.


* * * * *


I stood in the quiet piazza,
Where come rude noises never;
But the feet of children, the wings of doves,
Are sounding on forever.

And the cooing of their soft voices,
And the touch of the rippling sea,
And the ringing clock of the armed knight,
Came through the noon to me.

While their necks with rainbow gleaming,
'Neath the dark old arches shone,
And the campanile's shadow long,
Moved o'er the pavement stone.

And from every "coigne of vantage,"
Where lay some hidden nest,
They fluttered, peeped, and glistened forth,
Sacred, serene, at rest.

I thought of thy saint, O Venice!
Who said in his tenderness,
"I love thy birds, my Father dear,
Our lives they cheer and bless!

"For love is not for men only;
To the tiniest little things
Give room to nestle in our hearts;
Give freedom to all wings!"

And the lovely, still piazza,
Seemed with his presence blest,
And I, and the children, and the doves,
Partakers of his rest.


* * * * *


There sitteth a dove so white and fair,
All on the lily spray,
And she listeneth how, to Jesus Christ,
The little children pray.

Lightly she spreads her friendly wings,
And to heaven's gate hath sped,
And unto the Father in heaven she bears
The prayers which the children have said.

And back she comes from heaven's gate,
And brings--that dove so mild--
From the Father in heaven, who hears her speak,
A blessing for every child.

Then, children, lift up a pious prayer,
It hears whatever you say,
That heavenly dove, so white and fair,
That sits on the lily spray.


* * * * *


Whistles the quail from the covert,
Whistles with all his might,
High and shrill, day after day,
"Children, tell me, what does he say?"
_Ginx_--(the little one, bold and bright,
Sure that he understands aright)--
"He says, 'Bob White! Bob White!'"

Calls the quail from the cornfield,
Thick with stubble set;
Misty rain-clouds floating by
Hide the blue of the August sky.
"What does he call now, loud and plain?"
_Gold Locks_--"That's a sign of rain!
He calls 'More wet! more wet!'"

Pipes the quail from the fence-top,
Perched there full in sight,
Quaint and trim, with quick, bright eye,
Almost too round and plump to fly,
Whistling, calling, piping clear,
"What do _I_ think he says? My dear,
He says 'Do right! do right!'"


* * * * *


The snowflakes are drifting round windows and door;
The chilly winds whistle "Remember the poor;"
Remember the birds, too, out on yonder tree;
I hear one just singing a Chick-a-dee-dee.

Throw out a few crumbs! you've enough and to spare;
They need through the winter your kindness and care;
And they will repay you with heartiest glee,
By constantly singing a Chick-a-dee-dee.

Each morning you'll see them go hopping around,
Though little they find on the cold frozen ground;
Yet never disheartened! on each bush and tree,
They merrily carol a Chick-a-dee-dee.

Oh! sweet little songster; so fearless and bold!
Your little pink feet--do they never feel cold?
Have you a warm shelter at night for your bed,
Where under your wing you can tuck your brown head?

Though cold grows the season you seem not to care,
But cheerily warble though frosty the air;
Though short are the days, and the nights are so long,
And most of your playmates are scattered and gone.

The snowflakes are drifting round window and door,
And chilly winds whistle behind and before,
Yet never discouraged, on each bush and tree,
You'll hear the sweet carol of Chick-a-dee-dee.


* * * * *


What is the happiest morning song?
The Linnet's. He warbles, blithe and free,
In the sunlit top of the old elm-tree,
Joyous and fresh, and hopeful and strong.

The trees are not high enough, little bird;
You mount and wheel, and eddy and soar,
And with every turn yet more and more
Your wonderful, ravishing music is heard.

A crimson speck in the bright blue sky,
Do you search for the secret of heaven's deep glow?
Is not heaven _within_, when you carol so?
Then why, dear bird, must you soar so high?

He answers nothing, but soars and sings;
He heeds no doubtful question like this.
He only bubbles over with bliss,
And sings, and mounts on winning wings.

HARRIET E. PAINE: _Bird Songs of New England._

* * * * *


Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland Linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the Throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

Sweet is the love which Nature brings:
Our meddling intellect
Misshapes the beauteous forms of things:
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art:
Close up these barren leaves:
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.


* * * * *



The deep affections of the breast
That heaven to living things imparts,
Are not exclusively possessed
By human hearts.

A Parrot, from the Spanish main,
Full young and early caged came o'er,
With bright wings, to the bleak domain
Of Mulla's shore.

To spicy groves where he had won
His plumage of resplendent hue,
His native fruits, and skies, and sun,
He bade adieu.

For these he changed the smoke of turf,
A heathery land and misty sky,
And turned on rocks and raging surf
His golden eye.

But petted in our climate cold,
He lived and chattered many a day:
Until with age, from green and gold
His wings grew gray.

At last when blind, and seeming dumb,
He scolded, laughed, and spoke no more,
A Spanish stranger chanced to come
To Mulla's shore;

He hailed the bird in Spanish speech,
The bird in Spanish speech replied;
Flapped round the cage with joyous screech,
Dropt down, and died.


* * * * *


Behind us at our evening meal
The gray bird ate his fill,
Swung downward by a single claw,
And wiped his hooked bill.

He shook his wings and crimson tail,
And set his head aslant,
And, in his sharp, impatient way,
Asked, "What does Charlie want?"

"Fie, silly bird!" I answered, "tuck
Your head beneath your wing,
And go to sleep;"--but o'er and o'er
He asked the selfsame thing.

Then, smiling, to myself I said:--How
like are men and birds!
We all are saying what he says,
In actions or in words.

The boy with whip and top and drum,
The girl with hoop and doll,
And men with lands and houses, ask
The question of Poor Poll.

However full, with something more
We fain the bag would cram;
We sigh above our crowded nets
For fish that never swam.

No bounty of indulgent Heaven
The vague desire can stay;
Self-love is still a Tartar mill
For grinding prayers alway.

The dear God hears and pities all;
He knoweth all our wants;
And what we blindly ask of Him
His love withholds or grants.

And so I sometimes think our prayers
Might well be merged in one;
And nest and perch and hearth and church
Repeat, "Thy will be done."


* * * * *


"Why, so I will, you noisy bird,
This very day I'll advertise you,
Perhaps some busy ones may prize you.
A fine-tongued parrot as was ever heard,
I'll word it thus--set forth all charms about you,
And say no family should be without you."

Thus far a gentleman addressed a bird;
Then to his friend: "An old procrastinator,
Sir, I am: do you wonder that I hate her?
Though she but seven words can say,
Twenty and twenty times a day
She interferes with all my dreams,
My projects, plans, and airy schemes,
Mocking my foible to my sorrow:
I'll advertise this bird to-morrow."

To this the bird seven words did say:
"Why not do it, sir, to-day?"


* * * * *


Little bird, with bosom red,
Welcome to my humble shed!
Courtly domes of high degree
Have no room for thee and me;
Pride and pleasure's fickle throng
Nothing mind an idle song.
Daily near my table steal,
While I pick my scanty meal:--
Doubt not, little though there be,
But I'll cast a crumb to thee;
Well rewarded, if I spy
Pleasure in thy glancing eye;
See thee, when thou'st eat thy fill,
Plume thy breast and wipe thy bill.
Come, my feathered friend, again?
Well thou know'st the broken pane:--
Ask of me thy daily store.


* * * * *


Ere pales in heaven the morning star,
A bird, the loneliest of its kind,
Hears dawn's faint footfall from afar,
While all its mates are dumb and blind.

It is a wee, sad-colored thing,
As shy and secret as a maid,
That, ere in choir the robins ring,
Pipes its own name like one afraid.

It seems pain-prompted to repeat
The story of some ancient ill,
But Phoebe! Phoebe! sadly sweet,
Is all it says, and then is still.

It calls and listens: earth and sky,
Hushed by the pathos of its fate,
Listen: no whisper of reply
Comes from the doom-dissevered mate.

Phoebe! it calls and calls again,
And Ovid, could he but have heard,
Had hung a legendary pain
About the memory of the bird;

A pain articulate so long
In penance of some mouldered crime,
Whose ghost still flies the furies' thong
Down the waste solitudes of time;

* * * * *

Phoebe! is all it has to say
In plaintive cadence o'er and o'er,
Like children that have lost their way
And know their names, but nothing more.

Is it in type, since Nature's lyre
Vibrates to every note in man,
Of that insatiable desire
Meant to be so, since life began?

I, in strange lands at gray of dawn,
Wakeful, have heard that fruitless plaint
Through memory's chambers deep withdrawn
Renew its iterations faint.

So nigh! yet from remotest years
It seems to draw its magic, rife
With longings unappeased, and tears
Drawn from the very source of life.


* * * * *


Welcome, O Stork! that dost wing
Thy flight from the far-away!
Thou hast brought us the signs of Spring,
Thou hast made our sad hearts gay.

Descend, O Stork! descend
Upon our roof to rest;
In our ash-tree, O my friend,
My darling, make thy nest.

To thee, O Stork, I complain,
O Stork, to thee I impart
The thousand sorrows, the pain
And aching of my heart.

When thou away didst go,
Away from this tree of ours,
The withering winds did blow,
And dried up all the flowers.

Dark grew the brilliant sky,
Cloudy and dark and drear;
They were breaking the snow on high,
And winter was drawing near.

From Varaca's rocky wall,
From the rock of Varaca unrolled,
The snow came and covered all,
And the green meadow was cold.

O Stork, our garden with snow
Was hidden away and lost,
And the rose-trees that in it grow
Were withered by snow and frost.


* * * * *


The tradition of the storks at Delft (Holland), is, however, still alive,
and no traveller writes about the city without remembering them.

The fact occurred at the time of the great fire which ruined almost all the
city. There were in Delft innumerable storks' nests. It must be understood
that the stork is the favorite bird of Holland; the bird of good fortune,
like the swallow; welcome to all, because it makes war upon toads and
frogs; that the peasants plant poles with circular floor of wood on top to
attract them to make their nests, and that in some towns they may be seen
walking in the streets. At Delft they were in great numbers. When the fire
broke out, which was on the 3d May, the young storks were fledged, but
could not yet fly. Seeing the fire approach, the parent storks attempted to
carry their young out of danger; but they were too heavy; and, after having
tried all sorts of desperate efforts, the poor birds were forced to give it

They might have saved themselves and have abandoned the little ones to
their fate, as human creatures often do under similar circumstances. But
they stayed upon their nests, gathered their little ones about them,
covered them with their wings, as if to retard, as long as possible, the
fatal moment, and so awaited death, in that loving and noble attitude.

And who shall say if, in the horrible dismay and flight from the flames,
that example of self-sacrifice, that voluntary maternal martyrdom, may not
have given strength and courage to some weak soul who was about to abandon
those who had need of him.

DE AMICIS' _Holland_.

* * * * *


See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings.
Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground.
Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes,
His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,
The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold!


* * * * *


Silent are all the sounds of day;
Nothing I hear but the chirp of crickets,
And the cry of the herons winging their way
O'er the poet's house in the Elmwood thickets.

Call to him, herons, as slowly you pass
To your roosts in the haunts of the exiled thrushes,
Sing him the song of the green morass,
And the tides that water the reeds and rushes.

Sing him the mystical song of the Hern,
And the secret that baffles our utmost seeking;
For only a sound of lament we discern,
And cannot interpret the words you are speaking.

Sing of the air, and the wild delight
Of wings that uplift and winds that uphold you,
The joy of freedom, the rapture of flight
Through the drift of the floating mists that enfold you;

Of the landscape lying so far below,
With its towns and rivers and desert places;
And the splendor of light above, and the glow
Of the limitless, blue, ethereal spaces.

Ask him if songs of the Troubadours,
Or of Minnesingers in old black-letter,
Sound in his ears more sweet than yours,
And if yours are not sweeter and wilder and better.


* * * * *


Vogelweid the Minnesinger,
When he left this world of ours,
Laid his body in the cloister,
Under Wuertzburg's minster towers.

And he gave the monks his treasures,
Gave them all with this behest:
They should feed the birds at noontide
Daily on his place of rest;

Saying, "From these wandering minstrels
I have learned the art of song;
Let me now repay the lessons
They have taught so well and long."

Thus the bard of love departed;
And, fulfilling his desire,
On his tomb the birds were feasted
By the children of the choir.

Day by day, o'er tower and turret,
In foul weather and in fair,
Day by day, in vaster numbers,
Flocked the poets of the air.

On the tree whose heavy branches
Overshadowed all the place,
On the pavement, on the tombstone,
On the poet's sculptured face,

On the crossbars of each window,
On the lintel of each door,
They renewed the War of Wartburg,
Which the bard had fought before.

There they sang their merry carols,
Sang their lauds on every side;
And the name their voices uttered
Was the name of Vogelweid.

Till at length the portly abbot
Murmured, "Why this waste of food?
Be it changed to loaves henceforward
For our fasting brotherhood."

Then in vain o'er tower and turret,
From the walls and woodland nests,
When the minster bells rang noontide,
Gathered the unwelcome guests.

Then in vain, with cries discordant,
Clamorous round the Gothic spire,
Screamed the feathered Minnesingers
For the children of the choir.

Time has long effaced the inscriptions
On the cloister's funeral stones,
And tradition only tells us
Where repose the poet's bones.

But around the vast cathedral,
By sweet echoes multiplied,
Still the birds repeat the legend,
And the name of Vogelweid.


* * * * *


On the cross the dying Saviour
Heavenward lifts his eyelids calm,
Feels, but scarcely feels, a trembling
In his pierced and bleeding palm.

And by all the world forsaken,
Sees he how with zealous care
At the ruthless nail of iron
A little bird is striving there.

Stained with blood, and never tiring,
With its beak it does not cease,
From the cross 'twould free the Saviour,
Its Creator's son release.

And the Saviour speaks in mildness:
"Blest be thou of all the good!
Bear, as token of this moment,
Marks of blood and holy rood!"

And that bird is called the cross-bill;
Covered all with blood so clear,
In the groves of pine it singeth
Songs, like legends, strange to hear.


* * * * *


Among the orchards and the groves,
While summer days are fair and long,
You brighten every tree and bush,
You fill the air with loving song.


* * * * *


And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace:
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,--
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?


* * * * *


Then some one came who said, "My Prince had shot
A swan, which fell among the roses here,
He bids me pray you send it. Will you send?"
"Nay," quoth Siddartha, "if the bird were dead
To send it to the slayer might be well,
But the swan lives; my cousin hath but killed
The god-like speed which throbbed in this white wing."
And Devadatta answered, "The wild thing,
Living or dead, is his who fetched it down;
'Twas no man's in the clouds, but fall'n 'tis mine,
Give me my prize, fair Cousin." Then our Lord
Laid the swan's neck beside his own smooth cheek
And gravely spake, "Say no! the bird is mine,
The first of myriad things which shall be mine
By right of mercy and love's lordliness.
For now I know, by what within me stirs,
That I shall teach compassion unto men
And be a speechless world's interpreter,
Abating this accursed flood of woe,
Not man's alone; but, if the Prince disputes,
Let him submit this matter to the wise
And we will wait their word." So was it done;
In full divan the business had debate,
And many thought this thing and many that,
Till there arose an unknown priest who said,
"If life be aught, the savior of a life
Owns more the living thing than he can own
Who sought to slay--the slayer spoils and wastes,
The cherisher sustains, give him the bird:"
Which judgment all found just.

_Light of Asia._

* * * * *


A thousand miles from land are we,
Tossing about on the roaring sea--
From billow to bounding billow cast,
Like fleecy snow on the stormy blast.
The sails are scattered abroad like weeds;
The strong masts shake like quivering reeds;
The mighty cables and iron chains;
The hull, which all earthly strength disdains,--
They strain and they crack; and hearts like stone
Their natural, hard, proud strength disown.

Up and down!--up and down!
From the base of the wave to the billow's crown,
And amid the flashing and feathery foam,
The stormy petrel finds a home.
A home, if such a place may be
For her who lives on the wide, wide sea,
On the craggy ice, in the frozen air,
And only seeketh her rocky lair
To warm her young, and to teach them to spring
At once o'er the waves on their stormy wing!

O'er the deep!--o'er the deep!
Where the whale, and the shark, and the sword-fish sleep--
Outflying the blast and the driving rain,
The petrel telleth her tale--in vain;
For the mariner curseth the warning bird
Which bringeth him news of the storm unheard!
Ah! thus does the prophet of good or ill
Meet hate from the creatures he serveth still;
Yet he ne'er falters--so, petrel, spring
Once more o'er the waves on thy stormy wing!


* * * * *


Hail, beauteous stranger of the grove!
Thou messenger of Spring!
Now heaven repairs thy rural seat,
And woods thy welcome sing.

What time the pea puts on the bloom,
Thou fliest thy vocal vale,
An annual guest in other lands
Another Spring to hail.

Delightful visitant! with thee
I hail the time of flowers,
And hear the sound of music sweet
From birds among the bowers.

Sweet bird! thy bower is ever green,
Thy sky is ever clear;
Thou hast no sorrow in thy song,
No Winter in thy year!

Oh, could I fly, I'd fly with thee!
We'd make, with joyful wing,
Our annual visit o'er the globe,
Attendants on the Spring.


* * * * *


The beautiful day is breaking,
The first faint line of light
Parts the shadows of the night,
And a thousand birds are waking.
I hear the Hairbird's slender trill,--
So fine and perfect it doth fill
The whole sweet silence with its thrill.

A rosy flush creeps up the sky,
The birds begin their symphony.
I hear the clear, triumphant voice
Of the Robin, bidding the world rejoice.
The Vireos catch the theme of the song,
And the Baltimore Oriole bears it along,
While from Sparrow, and Thrush, and Wood Pewee,
And, deep in the pine-trees, the Chickadee,
There's an undercurrent of harmony.

The Linnet sings like a magic flute,
The Lark and Bluebird touch the lute,
The Starling pipes to the shining morn
With the vibrant note of the joyous horn,
The splendid Jay
Is the trumpeter gay,
The Kingfisher, sounding his rattle,--he
May the player on the cymbals be,
The Cock, saluting the sun's first ray,
Is the bugler sounding a reveille.
"Caw! Caw!" cries the crow, and his grating tone
Completes the chord like a deep trombone.

But, above them all, the Robin sings;
His song is the very soul of day,
And all black shadows troop away
While, pure and fresh, his music rings:
"Light is here!
Never fear!
Day is near!
My dear!"


* * * * *


Gliding at sunset in my boat,
I hear the Veery's bubbling note;
And a Robin, flying late,
Sounds the home-call to his mate.
Then the sun sinks low
In the western glow,
And the birds go to rest. But hush!
Far off sings the sweet Wood-Thrush.
He sings--and waits--and sings again,
The liquid notes of that holy strain.

He ceases, and all the world is still:
And then the moon climbs over the hill,
And I hear the cry of the Whip-poor-will.

Tranquil, I lay me down to sleep,
While the summer stars a vigil keep;
And I hear from the Sparrow a gentle trill,
Which means,
"Good Night; Peace and Good Will."


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