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"The thrush that carols at the dawn of day
From the green steeples of the piny wood;
Jargoning like a foreigner at his food;
Flooding with melody the neighborhood :
Of a scant handful more or less of wheat,
Scratched up at random by industrious feet,
Or a few cherries, that are not so sweet
Do you ne'er think who made them, and who taught The dialect they speak, where melodies
Alone are the interpreters of thought?
Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught!
The dim, leaf-latticed windows of the grove,
Their old, melodious madrigals of love! And when you think of this, remember too
'Tis always morning somewhere, and above The awakening continents, from shore to shore, Somewhere the birds are singing evermore. "Think of your woods and orchards without birds !
Of empty nests that cling to boughs and beams, As in an idiot's brain remembered words
Hang empty 'mid the cobwebs of his dreams!
Make up for th:e lost music, when your teams
"What! would you rather see the incessant stir
Of insects in the windrows of the hay,
Their melancholy hurdy-gurdies play?
Of meadow-lark, and its sweet roundelay,
“You call them thieves and pillagers; but know
They are the wingëd wardens of your farms, Who from the cornfields drive the insidious foe,
And from your harvests keep a hundred harms;
Renders good service as your man-at-arms,
“How can I teach your children gentleness,
And mercy to the weak, and reverence
Is still a gleam of God's omnipotence,
The self-same light, although averted hence,
With this he closed; and through the audience went
A murmur, like the rustle of dead leaves;
Their yellow heads together like their sheaven;
Who put their trust in bullocks and in beeves. The birds were doomed; and, as the record shows, A bounty offered for the heads of crows.
And so the dreadful massacre began;
O’er fields and orchards, and o'er woodland crests, The ceaseless fusillade of terror ran.
Dead fell the birds, with blood-stains on their breasta, Or wounded crept away from sight of man,
While the young died of famine in their nests ;
A slaughter to be told in groans, not words,
The Summer came, and all the birds were dead;
The days were like hot coals; the very ground Was burned to ashes; in the orchards fed
Myriads of caterpillars, and around The cultivated fields and garden-beds
Hosts of devouring insects crawled, and found No foe to check their march, till they had made The land a desert without leaf or shade.
Devoured by worms, like Herod, was the town,
Because, like Herod, it had ruthlessly Slaughtered the Innocents. From the trees spun down
The canker-worms upon the passers-by, Upon each woman's bonnet, shawl and gown,
Who shook them off with just a little cry; They were the terror of each favorite walk, The endless theme of all the village talk.
The farmers grew impatient, but a few
Confessed their error, and would not complain,
When it is raining, is to let it rain.
It would not call the dead to life again;
Without the light of her majestic look,
The illumined pages of his Doom's Day book.
And drowned themselves despairing in the brook,
A sight that never yet by bard was sung,
If some dumb animal had found a tongue!
A wagon, overarched with evergreen,
Upon whose boughs were wicker cages hung,
By order of the town, with anxious quest,
In woods and fields the places they loved best, Singing loud canticles, which many thought
Were satires to the authorities addressed, While others, listening in green lanes, averred Such lovely music never had been heard ! But blither still and louder caroled they
Upon the morrow, for they seemed to know It was the fair Almira's wedding-day;
And everywhere, around, above, below, When the Preceptor bore his bride away,
Their songs burst forth in joyous overflow, And a new heaven bent over a new earth Amid the sunny farms of Killingworth. Seven minor and recent poems, called Birds of Passage Flight the Second, are included in the above volume. Among these we find one of the most graphic and soul-stirring of the poems inspired by our late war, namely:
On board of the Cumberland, sloop-of-war;
The alarum of drums swept past,
Or a bugle blast
A little feather of snow-white smoke,
Was steadily steering its course
To try the force
Down upon us heavily runs,
Silent and sullen, the floating fort;
And leaps the terrible death,
With fiery breath,
Defiance back in a full broadside!
Rebounds our heavier hail
From each iron scale
In his arrogant old plantation strain.
“It is better to sink than to yield !"
And the whole air pealed
Then, like a kraken huge and black,
She crushed our ribs in her iron grasp!
With a sudden shudder of death,
And the cannon's breath
Still floated our flag at the mainmast-head.
Every waft of the air
Was a whisper of prayer,
Ye are at peace in the troubled stream.
Thy flag, that is rent in twain,
Shall be one again,
/ Flower de Luce, a volume of thirteen brief poems, bloomed in 1866. In 1867, Longfellow gave to the public what is