Go On, Sweet Bird, And Soothe My Care

FOR thee is laughing Nature gay,
For thee she pours the vernal day;
For me in vain is Nature drest,
While Joy's a stranger to my breast.

by Robert Burns.

A sweet-voiced bird's been caught.
They squeeze it in a vice-like grip.
The poor thing squeaks and warbles not
But they insist: "O, birdie, sing!"

by Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin.

The Mocking-Bird

In mirth he mocks the other birds at noon,
Catching the lilt of every easy tune;
But when the day departs he sings of love,--
His own wild song beneath the listening moon.

by Henry Van Dyke.

My Friend Must Be A Bird

92
My friend must be a Bird—
Because it flies!
Mortal, my friend must be,
Because it dies!
Barbs has it, like a Bee!
Ah, curious friend!
Thou puzzlest me!

by Emily Dickinson.

Bird Song - Kookaburra

I suspect the Kookaburra,
For his methods are not thorough
In his highly-praised campaign against the snakes,
And the small birds, one and all,
Curse him for a cannibal
Though he certainly is cheerful when he wakes.

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

The Bird Must Sing To Earn The Crumb

880

The Bird must sing to earn the Crumb
What merit have the Tune
No Breakfast if it guaranty

The Rose content may bloom
To gain renown of Lady's Drawer
But if the Lady come
But once a Century, the Rose
Superfluous become—

by Emily Dickinson.

The Lady Feeds Her Little Bird

941

The Lady feeds Her little Bird
At rarer intervals—
The little Bird would not dissent
But meekly recognize

The Gulf between the Hand and Her
And crumbless and afar
And fainting, on Her yellow Knee
Fall softly, and adore—

by Emily Dickinson.

In alien lands I keep the body
Of ancient native rites and things:
I gladly free a little birdie
At celebration of the spring.

I'm now free for consolation,
And thankful to almighty Lord:
At least, to one of his creations
I've given freedom in this world!

by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin.

HE'S not the bird I took him for―
I heard him in the distance screaming,
And tho' his voice was harsh, that hour,
I dream'd of glories, golden, gleaming!

This hour he meets my closer view;
And tho' he cuts as big a swagger,
I find a little cockatoo,
And not a peacock, in the bragger!

by Joseph Skipsey.

When the summer sky is a tent of blue,
And rosy June is the regnant queen,
A crimson shuttle, he flashes through
The leafy warp of the forest green.

And the thread of a sweet song follows him,
In mazy tangles of shade and sun,
And stretches away in the distance dim-
And the bonny bird, and the song- are one!

by Andrew Jackson Downing.

To A Startled Bird

FLY not away, wee birdie, pray!
No weasels we, no evil-bringers,
Would make thee bear the pangs that tear
Too oft the hearts of sweetest singers.

Long may thy nest with eggs be blest,
And prove with these brown four, yet
fountains
Of tender lays to charm the days
Of future climbers of the mountains.

by Joseph Skipsey.

O wonderful! In sport we climbed the tree,
Eager and laughing, as in all our play,
To see the eggs where, in the nest, they lay,
But silent fell before the mystery.

For, one brief moment there, we understood
By sudden sympathy too fine for words
That we were sisters to the brooding birds
And part, with them, in God’s great motherhood.

by Ellis Parker Butler.

A Little Bird I Am

'A little bird I am,
Shut from the fields of air,
And in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there:
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because, my God, it pleases Thee!

'Naught have I else to do;
I sing the whole day long;
And He whom most I love to please
Doth listen to my song,
He caught and bound my wandering wing,
But still He bends to hear me sing.'

by Louisa May Alcott.

My Heart, When First The Black-Bird Sings

MY heart, when first the blackbird sings,
My heart drinks in the song:
Cool pleasure fills my bosom through
And spreads each nerve along.

My bosom eddies quietly,
My heart is stirred and cool
As when a wind-moved briar sweeps
A stone into a pool

But unto thee, when thee I meet,
My pulses thicken fast,
As when the maddened lake grows black
And ruffles in the blast.

by Robert Louis Stevenson.

My Heart, When First The Black-Bird Sings

MY heart, when first the blackbird sings,
My heart drinks in the song:
Cool pleasure fills my bosom through
And spreads each nerve along.

My bosom eddies quietly,
My heart is stirred and cool
As when a wind-moved briar sweeps
A stone into a pool

But unto thee, when thee I meet,
My pulses thicken fast,
As when the maddened lake grows black
And ruffles in the blast.

by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Of Being Is A Bird

653

Of Being is a Bird
The likest to the Down
An Easy Breeze do put afloat
The General Heavens—upon—

It soars—and shifts—and whirls—
And measures with the Clouds
In easy—even—dazzling pace—
No different the Birds—

Except a Wake of Music
Accompany their feet—
As did the Down emit a Tune—
For Ecstasy—of it

by Emily Dickinson.

What Bird So Sings

What bird so sings, yet so does wail,
'Tis Philomel the Nightingale;
Jug, jug, jug, tereu she cries,
And hating earth, to heaven she flies.
Ha, ha, hark, hark, the Cuckoos sing
Cuckoo, to welcome in the Spring.
Brave prick-song; who is't now we hear!
'Tis the Lark's silver lir-a-lir:
Chirrup, the Sparrow flies away;
For he fell to't ere break of day.
Ha, ha, hark hark; the Cuckoos sing
Cuckoo, to welcome in the Spring

by Thomas Dekker.

The Bird That Soars On Highest Wing

The bird that soars on highest wing
Builds on the ground her lowly nest;
And she that doth most sweetly sing
Sings in the shade when all things rest:
In lark and nightingale we see
What honour hath humility.

The saint that wears heaven's brightest crown
In deepest adoration bends;
The weight of glory bows him down
Then most when most his soul ascends.
Nearest the throne itself must be
The footstool of humility.

by James Montgomery.

The Humming Bird

A sudden whirr of eager sound—
And now a something throbs around
The flowers that watch the fountain. Look!
It touched the rose, the green leaves shook,
I think, and yet so lightly tost
That not a spark of dew was lost.
Tell me, O rose, what thing it is
That now appears, now vanishes?
Surely it took its fire-green hue
From day-breaks that it glittered through;
Quick, for this sparkle of the dawn
Glints through the garden and is gone.

by Edwin Markham.

Gamajun, The Prophetic Bird

On waters, spread without end,
Dressed with the sunset so purple,
It sings and prophesies for land,
Unable to lift the smashed wings' couple...
The charge of Tartars' hordes it claims,
And bloody set of executions,
Earthquake, and hunger and the flames,
The death of justice, crime’s intrusion...
And caught with fear, cold and smooth,
The fair face flames as one of lovers’,
But sound with prophetic truth
The lips that the bloody foam covers!...

by Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blok.

God Gave A Loaf To Every Bird,

God gave a loaf to every bird,
But just a crumb to me;
I dare not eat it, though I starve,--
My poignant luxury
To own it, touch it, prove the feat
That made the pellet mine,--
Too happy in my sparrow chance
For ampler coveting.

It might be famine all around,
I could not miss an ear,
Such plenty smiles upon my board,
My garner shows so fair.
I wonder how the rich may feel,--
An Indiaman--an Earl?
I deem that I with but a crumb
Am sovereign of them all.

by Emily Dickinson.

What Bird So Sings, Yet So Does Wail?

What bird so sings, yet so does wail?
Oh, 'tis the ravished nightingale.
Jug, jug, jug, jug, tereu, she cries,
And still her woes at midnight rise.
Brave prick-song! Who is't now we hear?
None but the lark so shrill and clear;
How at heaven's gates she claps her wings,
The morn not waking till she sings.
Hark, hark, with what a pretty throat
Poor robin redbreast tunes his note;
Hark how the jolly cuckoos sing
Cuckoo, to welcome in the spring,
Cuckoo, to welcome in the spring.

by John Lyly.

The Bird And The Hour

The sun looks over a little hill
And floods the valley with gold-
A torrent of gold;
And the hither field is green and still;
Beyond it a cloud outrolled,
Is glowing molten and bright;
And soon the hill, and the valley and all,
With a quiet fall,
Shall be gathered into the night.
And yet a moment more,
Out of the silent wood,
As if from the closing door
Of another world and another lovelier mood,
Hear'st thou the hermit pour-
So sweet! so magical!-
His golden music, ghostly beautiful.

by Archibald Lampman.

I HAD a merry bird
Who sung a merry song,
And take it on my word,
The day it was not long
In presence of my bird with its merry, merry song.


Did fortune strew my way
With crosses, which, to bear,
Had rendered me a prey
To sorrow or despair―
My birdie trilled its lay, and they vanished into air.


And thus went things with me,
Till lo, with sudden sweep,
Death came across the lea
And laid my bird asleep;
And ever since that hour I've done nought but sigh and weep.

by Joseph Skipsey.

Archy's Song From Charles The First (A Widow Bird Sate Mourning For Her Love)

Heigho! the lark and the owl!
One flies the morning, and one lulls the night:
Only the nightingale, poor fond soul,
Sings like the fool through darkness and light.

'A widow bird sate mourning for her love
Upon a wintry bough;
The frozen wind crept on above,
The freezing stream below.

'There was no leaf upon the forest bare,
No flower upon the ground,
And little motion in the air
Except the mill-wheel's sound.'

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

High From The Earth I Heard A Bird

High from the earth I heard a bird;
He trod upon the trees
As he esteemed them trifles,
And then he spied a breeze,
And situated softly
Upon a pile of wind
Which in a perturbation
Nature had left behind.
A joyous-going fellow
I gathered from his talk,
Which both of benediction
And badinage partook,
Without apparent burden,
I learned, in leafy wood
He was the faithful father
Of a dependent brood;
And this untoward transport
His remedy for care,—
A contrast to our respites.
How different we are!

by Emily Dickinson.

For Every Bird A Nest

143

For every Bird a Nest—
Wherefore in timid quest
Some little Wren goes seeking round—

Wherefore when boughs are free—
Households in every tree—
Pilgrim be found?

Perhaps a home too high—
Ah Aristocracy!
The little Wren desires—

Perhaps of twig so fine—
Of twine e'en superfine,
Her pride aspires—

The Lark is not ashamed
To build upon the ground
Her modest house—

Yet who of all the throng
Dancing around the sun
Does so rejoice?

by Emily Dickinson.

The sunrise wakes the lark to sing,
The moonrise wakes the nightingale.
Come darkness, moonrise, everything
That is so silent, sweet, and pale,
Come, so ye wake the nightingale.

Make haste to mount, thou wistful moon,
Make haste to wake the nightingale:
Let silence set the world in tune
To hearken to that wordless tale
Which warbles from the nightingale.


O herald skylark, stay thy flight
One moment, for a nightingale
Floods us with sorrow and delight.
To-morrow thou shalt hoist the sail;
Leave us tonight the nightingale.

by Christina Georgina Rossetti.

Did any bird come flying
After Adam and Eve,
When the door was shut against them
And they sat down to grieve?

I think not Eve's peacock
Splendid to see,
And I think not Adam's eagle;
But a dove may be.

Did any beast come pushing
Through the thorny hedge
Into the thorny thistly world,
Out from Eden's edge?

I think not a lion,
Though his strength is such;
But an innocent loving lamb
May have done as much.

If the dove preached from her bough
and the lamb from his sod,
The lamb and dove
Were preachers sent from God.

by Christina Georgina Rossetti.

The Retrospective Bird

His caw is a cackle, his eye is dim,
And he mopes all day on the lowest limb;
Not a word says he, but he snaps his bill
And twitches his palsied head, as a quill,
The ultimate plume of his pride and hope,
Quits his now featherless nose-of-the-Pope,
Leaving that eminence brown and bare
Exposed to the Prince of the Power of the Air.
And he sits and he thinks: 'I'm an old, old man,
Mateless and chickless, the last of my clan,
But I'd give the half of the days gone by
To perch once more on the branches high,
And hear my great-grand-daddy's comical croaks
In authorized versions of _Bulletin_ jokes.'

by Ambrose Bierce.

From morn till noon upon the window-pane
The tempest tapped with rainy finger-nails,
And all the afternoon the blustering gales
Beat at the door with furious feet of rain.
The rose, near which the lily bloom lay slain,
Like some red wound dripped by the garden rails,
On which the sullen slug left slimy trails
Meseemed the sun would never shine again.
Then in the drench, long, loud and full of cheer,
A skyey herald tabarded in blue,
A bluebird bugled... and at once a bow
Was bent in heaven, and I seemed to hear
God's sapphire spaces crystallizing through
The strata'd clouds in azure tremolo.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

Sonnet To The White-Bird Of The Tropic

BIRD of the Tropic! thou, who lov'st to stray
Where thy long pinions sweep the sultry Line,
Or mark'st the bounds which torrid beams confine
By thy averted course, that shuns the ray
Oblique, enamour'd of sublimer day:
Oft on yon cliff thy folded plumes recline,
And drop those snowy feathers Indians twine,
To crown the warrior's brow with honours gay.
O'er trackless oceans what impels thy wing?
Does no soft instinct in thy soul prevail?
No sweet affection to thy bosom cling,
And bid thee oft thy absent nest bewail?--
Yet thou again to that dear spot canst spring,
But I no more my long-lost home shall hail!

by Helen Maria Williams.

Let Me Be To Thee As The Circling Bird

Let me be to Thee as the circling bird,
Or bat with tender and air-crisping wings
That shapes in half-light his departing rings,
From both of whom a changeless note is heard.
I have found my music in a common word,
Trying each pleasurable throat that sings
And every praised sequence of sweet strings,
And know infallibly which I preferred.

The authentic cadence was discovered late
Which ends those only strains that I approve,
And other science all gone out of date
And minor sweetness scarce made mention of:
I have found the dominant of my range and state -
Love, O my God, to call Thee Love and Love.

by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Beauty And The Bird

SHE fluted with her mouth as when one sips,
And gently waved her golden head, inclin'd
Outside his cage close to the window-blind;
Till her fond bird, with little turns and dips,
Piped low to her of sweet companionships.
And when he made an end, some seed took she
And fed him from her tongue, which rosily
Peeped as a piercing bud between her lips.
And like the child in Chaucer, on whose tongue
The Blessed Mary laid, when he was dead,
A grain,—who straightway praised her name in song:
Even so, when she, a little lightly red,
Now turned on me and laughed, I heard the throng
Of inner voices praise her golden head.

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The Mocking-Bird

Superb and sole, upon a plumed spray
That o'er the general leafage boldly grew,
He summ'd the woods in song; or typic drew
The watch of hungry hawks, the lone dismay
Of languid doves when long their lovers stray,
And all birds' passion-plays that sprinkle dew
At morn in brake or bosky avenue.
Whate'er birds did or dreamed, this bird could say.
Then down he shot, bounced airily along
The sward, twitched in a grasshopper, made song
Midflight, perched, prinked, and to his art again.
Sweet Science, this large riddle read me plain:
How may the death of that dull insect be
The life of yon trim Shakespeare on the tree?

by Sidney Lanier.

A Bird Came Down

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And then hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad,-
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head

Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home

Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, splashless, as they swim.

by Emily Dickinson.

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And the hopped sideways to the wall
To let a beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad, -
They looked like frightened beads, I thought
He stirred his velvet head.

Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rolled him softer home

Then oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, plashless, as they swim.

by Emily Dickinson.

Within My Garden, Rides A Bird

500

Within my Garden, rides a Bird
Upon a single Wheel—
Whose spokes a dizzy Music make
As 'twere a travelling Mill—

He never stops, but slackens
Above the Ripest Rose—
Partakes without alighting
And praises as he goes,

Till every spice is tasted—
And then his Fairy Gig
Reels in remoter atmospheres—
And I rejoin my Dog,

And He and I, perplex us
If positive, 'twere we—
Or bore the Garden in the Brain
This Curiosity—

But He, the best Logician,
Refers my clumsy eye—
To just vibrating Blossoms!
An Exquisite Reply!

by Emily Dickinson.

The Canary Bird

I cannot hear thy voice with other’s ears,
Who make of thy lost liberty a gain;
And in thy tale of blighted hopes and fears
Feel not that every note is born with pain.
Alas! That with thy music’s gentle swell
Past days of joy should through thy memory throng,
And each to thee their words of sorrow tell
While ravished sense forgets thee in thy song.
The heart that on thy past and future feeds,
And pours in human words its thoughts divine,
Though at each birth the spirit inly bleeds,
Its song may charm the listening ear like thine,
And men with gilded cage and praise will try
To make the bard like thee forget his native sky.

by Jones Very.

To The Canary Bird

I cannot hear thy voice with others' ears,
Who make of thy lost liberty a gain;
And in thy tale of blighted hopes and fears
Feel not that every note is born with pain.
Alas! that with thy music's gentle swell
Past days of joy should through thy memory throng,
And each to thee their words of sorrow tell,
While ravished sense forgets thee in thy song.
The heart that on the past and future feeds,
And pours in human words its thoughts divine,
Though at each birth the spirit inly bleeds,
Its song may charm the listening ear like thine,
And men with gilded cage and praise will try
To make the bard like thee forget his native sky.

by Jones Very.