Lines Suggested by the Singing of a Bird Early in March, 1868.
Sing on, sweet feathered warbler, sing!Mount higher on thy joyous wing,And let thy morning anthem ringFull on my ear;Thou art the only sign of springI see or hear.
The earth is buried deep in snow;The muffled streams refuse to flow,The rattling mill can scarcely go,For ice and frost:The beauty of the vale belowIn death is lost.
Save thine, no note of joy is heard—Thy kindred songsters of the woodHave long since gone, and thou, sweet bird,Art left behind—A faithful friend, whose every wordIs sweet and kind.
But Spring will come, as thou wilt see,With blooming flower and budding tree,And song of bird and hum of beeTheir charms to lend;But I will cherish none like thee,My constant friend.
Like the dear friends who ne’er forsake me—Whatever sorrows overtake me—In spite of all my faults which make meMyself detest,They still cling to and kindly take meUnto their breast.An Eastern Tale Addressed to Mrs. S.C. Choate.
A Persian lady we’re informed—This happened long, long years beforeThe Christian era ever dawned,A thousand years, it may be more,The date and narrative are so obscure,I have to guess some things that should be sure.
I’m puzzled with this history,And rue that I began the tale;It seems a kind of mystery—I’m very much afraid I’ll fail,For want of facts of the sensation kind:I therefore dwell upon the few I find.
I like voluminous writing best,That gives the facts dress’d up in style.A handsome woman when she’s dressedLooks better than (repress that smile)When she in plainer costume does appear;The more it costs we know she is more dear.
The story is a Grecian one,The author’s name I cannot tell;Perhaps it was old XenophonOr Aristotle, I can’t dwellOn trifles; perhaps Plutarch wrote the story:At any rate its years have made it hoary.
The Greeks were famous in those daysIn arts, in letters and in arms;Quite plain and simple in their ways;With their own hands they tilled their farms;Some dressed the vine, some plow’d the ocean’s wave;Some wrote, were orators, or teachers grave.
They were Republicans, in fact;The Persians might have called them “blackRepublicans;” they never lackedThe power to beat a foeman back.Thermopylæ, so famed in Grecian storyIs but another name for martial glory.
A busy hive to work or fight,Like our New England bold and strong;A little frantic for the right,As sternly set against the wrong;And when for right they drew the sword, we know,Stopped not to count the number of the foe.
To me it is a painful sightTo see a nation great and goodReduced to such a sorry plight,And courtiers crawl where freemen stood,And king and priests combine to seize the spoil,While widows weep and beggar’d yeomen toil.
The philosophic mind might dwellUpon this subject for an age:The philanthropic heart might swellTill tears as ink would wet the page;The mystery, a myst’ry will remain—The learning of the learned cannot explain....