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Fair Summer's heats oppress
’Neath equinoctial beams, When birds retire to the sylvan shades,
And beasts to the limpid streams.
The cotter hies him home,
After the toils of the day ;
What cheers him on his evening path ?
The Robin's gladsome lay.
Brown Autumn's dreary moan
Reverb'rates through the glade, And many a sullen, whistling blast
The forest depths invade :
The shady leafʼs no more,
The blue has left the hill ;
But near yon hamlet's humble shed
Is seen the Robin still.
Now Winter frowns severe;
Congealing frosts and snow Come drifting keen from their arctic sphere,
And howling tempests blow. But where is the songster's voice,
The little English bird ? Midst the rigid scene of the winter stern,
Is the lay of the Robin heard ?
O, yes ! in some cottage hedge
He wiles the hours away, Shelter'd by its roof, he fears
No towering bird of prey; The gracious crumbs bestow'd
He picks, with grateful breast, Then hurries away to his lonely roost,
And sings himself to rest.
Sweet, constant, faithful bird,
True to thy land and home, Whilst other birds seek other climes,
Thou never learn'st to roam : In Freedom's vales thou dwell'st,
Though bleak, they still are free. May I, like the Robin Redbreast, prize
Friends, home, and liberty !
GOLDFINCH, pride of woodland glade
In thy jet and gold array'd;
Gentle bird, that lov'st to feed
On the thistle's downy seed ;
Freely frolic, lightly sing,
In the sunbeam spread thy wing!
Spread thy plumage, trim and gay,
Glittering in the noontide ray !
the thorn-tree's stem
Perch'd, thou sipp’st the dewy gem.
Fickle bird, for ever roving,
Endless changes ever loving;
Now in orchards gaily sporting,
Now to flowery fields resorting ;
Chasing now the thistle's down,
By the gentle zephyrs blown ;
Lightly on thou win'st thy way,
Always happy, always gay.
ON BIRDS BUILDING THEIR NESTS.
A THOUSAND bills are busy now, the skies
Are winnow'd by a thousand fluttering wings,
While all the feather'd race their annual rites,
Ardent, begin, and choose where best to build,
With more than human skill. Some, cautious, seek
Sequester'd spots; while some, more confident,
Scarce ask a covert. Wiser, these elude
The foes that pray upon their several kinds ;
Those to the hedge repair, with velvet down
Of budding sallows beautifully white.
The cavern-loving Wren sequester'd seeks
The verdant shelter of the hollow stump,
And with congenial moss, harmless deceit !
Constructs a safe abode. On topmost boughs,
The glossy Raven, and the hoarse-voiced Crow,
Rock'd by the storm, erect their airy nests.
The Ouzel, lone frequenter of the grove
Of fragrant pines, in solemn depth of shade
Finds rest; or, ʼmid the holly's shining leaves
A simple bush the piping Thrush contents,-
Though in the woodland concert he aloft
Trills from his spotted throat a powerful strain,
And scorns the humbler quire. The Lark, too, asks
A lowly dwelling, hid beneath a turf,
Or hollow, trodden by the sinking hoof;-
Songster of heaven ! who to the sun such lays
Pours forth as earth ne'er owns. Within the hedge
The Sparrow lays her sky-stain'd eggs; the barn,
With eaves o'erpendent, holds the chattering tribe.
Secret the Linnet seeks the tangled copse :
And the white Owl some antique, ruin'd wall,
Fearless of rapine, or in hollow trees,
Which age has cavern'd, safely courts repose.
The thievish Pie, in two-fold colours clad, (twigs,
Roofs o'er her curious nest with firm-wreathed
And sidelong forms her cautious door ; she dreads
The talon'd kite or pouncing hawk, savage
Herself:—with craft suspicion ever dwells.