’T IS the blithest, bonniest weather for a bird to flirt a feather,
For a bird to trill and warble, all his wee red breast a-swell.
I ’ve a secret. You may listen till your blue eyes dance and glisten,
Little maiden, but I ’ll never, never, never, never tell.
You ’ll find no more wary piper, till the strawberries wax riper
In December than in June—aha! all up and down the dell,
Where my nest is set, for certain, with a pink and snowy curtain,
East or west, but which I ’ll never, never, never, never tell.
You may prick me with a thistle, if you ever hear me whistle
How my brooding mate, whose weariness my carols sweet dispel,
All between the clouds and clover, apple-blossoms drooping over,
Twitters low that I must never, never, never, never tell.
Oh, I swear no closer fellow stains his bill in cherries mellow.
Tra la la! and tirra lirra! I ’m the jauntiest sentinel,
Perched beside my jewel-casket, where lie hidden—don’t you ask it,
For of those three eggs I ’ll never, never, never, never tell.
Chirp! chirp! chirp! alack! for pity! Who hath marred my merry ditty?
Who hath stirred the scented petals, peeping in where robins dwell?
Oh, my mate! May Heaven defend her! Little maidens’ hearts are tender,
And I never, never, never, never, never meant to tell.