Page images

Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,

Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink ;

Spink, spank, spink; Snug and safe is that nest of ours,

Nobody knows but my mate and I
Hidden among the summer flowers.

Where our nest and our nestlings lie.
Chee, chee, chee.

Chee, chee, chee.
Robert of Lincoln is gayly dressed,

Summer wanes; the children are grown; Wearing a bright black wedding coat;

Fun and frolic no more he knows; White are his shoulders and white his crest, Robert of Lincoln 's a humdrum crone ; Hear him call in his merry note :

Off he flies, and we sing as he goes: Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,

Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, Spink, spank, spink ;

Spink, spank, spink ; Look, what a nice new coat is mine,

When you can pipe that merry old strain, Sure there was never a bird so fine.

Robert of Lincoln, come back again.
Chee, chee, chee.

Chee, chee, chee.

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT. Robert of Lincoln's Quaker wife,

Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,
Passing at home a patient life,
Broods in the grass while her husband sings :

Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
Spink, spank, spink ;

A SWALLOW in the spring
Brood, kind creature ; you need not fear Came to our granary, and 'neath the eaves
Thieves and robbers while I am here. | Essayed to make a nest, and there did bring
Chee, chee, chee.

Wet earth and straw and leaves. Modest and shy as a nun is she,

Day after day she toiled One weak chirp is her only note,

With patient art, but ere her work was crowned, Braggart and prince of braggarts is he, Some sad mishap the tiny fabric spoiled, Pouring boasts from his little throat:

And dashed it to the ground.
Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
Spink, spank, spink;

She found the ruin wrought,
Never was 1 afraid of man ;

But not cast down, forth from the place she flex, Catch me, cowardly knaves, if you can.

And with her mate fresh earth and grasses brought

And built her nest anew.
Chee, chee, chee.
Six white eggs on a bed of hay,

But scarcely had she placed
Flecked with purple, a pretty sight !

The last soft feather on its ample floor, There as the mother sits all day,

When wicked hand, or chance, again laid waste Robert is singing with all his might :

And wrought the ruin o'er.
Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,

But still her heart she kept,
Spink, spank, spink;
Nice good wife, that never goes out,

And toiled again, — and last night, hearing calls,

I looked, - and lo! three little swallows slept Keeping house while I frolic about.

Within the earth-made walls.
Chee, chee, chee.
Soon as the little ones chip the shell

What truth is here, O man !
Six wide mouths are open for food ;

Hath hope been smitten in its early dawn? Robert of Lincoln bestirs him well,

Have clouds o'ercast thy purpose, trust, or plan! Gathering seed for the hungry brood.

Have faith, and struggle on! Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,

Spink, spank, spink;
This new life is likely to be
Hard for a gay young fellow like me.

Chee, chee, chee.

Tuc gorse is yellow on the hea·h,
Robert of Lincoln at length is made

The banks with speedwell flowers are gay, Sober with work, and silent with care;

The oaks are budding; and beneath, Off is his holiday garment laid,

The hawthorn soon will bear the wreath, Half forgotten that merry air,

The silver wreath of May.

[blocks in formation]

Gay, guiltless pair, What seek ye from the fields of heaven!

Ye have no need of prayer, Ye have no sins to be forgiven.

Why perch ye here, Where mortals to their Maker bend ?

Can your pure spirits fear The God ye never could offend ?

Ye never knew
The crimes for which we come to weep.

Penance is not for you,
Blessed wanderers of the upper deep.

To you 't is given To wake sweet Nature's untaught lays ;

Beneath the arch of heaven To chirp away a life of praise.


(Translation.) The rain-drops plash, and the dead leaves fall,

On spire and cornice and mould ; The swallows gather, and twitter and call, “We must follow the summer, comeone, come all,

For the winter is now so cold.” Just listen awhile to the wordy war,

As to whither the way shall tend, Says one, “I know the skies are fair And myriad insects float in air

Where the ruins of Athens stand. “And every year when the brown leaves fall,

In a niche of the Parthenon I build my nest on the corniced wall, | In the trough of a devastating ball

From the Turk's besieging gun.” Says another, “My cosey home I fit

On a Smyrna grande café, Where over the threshold Haljii sit, and smoke their pipes and their coffee sip,

Dreaming the hours away."

Then spread each wing
Far, far above, o'er lakes and lands,

And join the choirs that sing
In yon blue dome not reared with hands.

Or, if ye stay,
To note the consecrated hour,

Teach me the airy way,
And let me try your envied power.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »