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his favourites and touch his heart most intimately. One of his poems called The Nest contrasts May First comes the merry month :

and December.

Then from the honeysuckle grey

The oriole with experienced quest
Twitches the fibrous bark away,

The cordage of his hammock-nest,
Cheering his labour with a note
Rich as the orange of his throat.
High o'er the loud and dusty road
The soft grey cup in safety swings,
To brim ere August with its load

Of downy breasts and throbbing wings,
O'er which the friendly elm-tree heaves
An emerald roof with sculptured eaves.

Thy duty, wingöd flame of spring,
Is but to love and fly and sing.
Oh! happy life, to soar and sway

Above the life by mortals led,
Singing the merry months away,

Master, not slave, of daily bread,
And when the autumn comes, to flee

Wherever sunshine beckons thee.

This is the summer picture; when December comes, there is a sad change; the trees are leafless. And thou, dear nest, whence joy and praise The thankful oriole used to pour,

Swing'st empty, while the north winds chase

Their snowy swarms from Labrador :

But loyal to the happy past,

I love thee still for what thou wast.

As usual the poet moralises this very effectively. When in human beings the springs of life are dried up and when our branches, too, show the vacant nests of spring, yet with his optimistic outlook on life he trusts

that, like the birds of spring, Our good goes not without repair, But only flies to soar and sing

Far off in some diviner air,

Where we shall find it in the calms

Of that fair garden 'neath the palms.

The same image of the forsaken and outworn nest which we found so suggestive to other poets is used in The Parting of the Ways. As old age approaches, the senses are bereft of their keenness and become like superannuated nests.

These senses, quivering with electric beats,

Too soon will show, like nests on wintry boughs,
Obtrusive emptiness, too palpable wreck,

Which whistling north winds line with downy snow
Sometimes, or fringe with foliaged rime, in vain,

Thither the singing birds no more return.

Once more in Auf Wiedersehen the same thought

is expressed.

Two watched yon oriole's pendent dome,

That now is void and dank with rain,
And one-oh, hope more frail than foam!

The bird to his deserted home

Sings not "Auf wiedersehen ".

The poet measures time by this bird. Instead of saying 'tis fifty years since, he puts it more poetically thus :

The oriole's fledglings fifty times

Have flown from our familiar elms.

The oriole comes into Under the Willows, where his nest-building is fully described.

Hush! 'tis he!

My oriole, my glance of summer fire,
Is come at last, and, ever on the watch,
Twitches the pack-thread I had lightly wound
About the bough to help his housekeeping-
Twitches and scouts by turns, blessing his luck,
Yet fearing me who laid it in his way,
Nor, more than wiser we in our affairs,
Divines the providence that hides and helps.
Heave ho! heave ho! he whistles as the twine
Slackens its hold; once more now, and a flash
Lightens across the sunlight to the elm,

Where his mate dangles at her cup of felt.

Now the oriole is an unknown bird to us, but apart from the fact that we have seen it in museums, have seen pictures of it in natural history books and have read of its pendent nest which rocks in the wind, and so forth, we have from these numerous descriptions of it a very good and no doubt absolutely correct idea of the bird-its orange


throat, its hanging dome-roofed nest, its cheery


So is it with the bobolink which is more in evidence even than the oriole.

Meanwhile that devil-may-care the bobolink,
Remembering duty, in mid-quaver stops,

Just ere he sweeps o'er rapture's tremulous brink,
And 'twixt the winrows most demurely drops,
A decorous bird of business, who provides
For his brown mate and fledglings six besides,
And looks from right to left, a farmer 'mid his crops.

Describing the New England summer which "with one great gush of blossom storms the world," he gives a poetic rendering of the bobolink's song, something after the manner of Tennyson's Throstle:

But now, oh rapture! sunshine winged and voiced,

Pipe blown through by the warm wild breath of the West, Shepherding his soft droves of fleecy cloud,

Gladness of woods, skies, waters, all in one

The bobolink has come, and like the soul
Of the sweet season vocal in a bird,

Gurgles in ecstasy we know not what

Save June! Dear June! Now God be praised for June.

The bird comes into The Biglow Papers even, no picture of an American June being complete without this feathered songster.

June's bridesman, poet o' the year,

Gladness on wings, the bobolink is here ;
Half hid in tip-top apple bloom he swings,
Or climbs against the breeze with quiverin' wings,
Or givin' way to't in a mock despair,

Runs down, a brook o' laughter, thru the air.

Glancing at the conventions of poets who do not look at things for themselves, or if they do, are afraid to give expression to what they see, preferring to talk o' daisies, larks, an' things

Ez though we'd nothin' here that blows an' sings,

he roundly affirms :—

Why, I'd give more for one live bobolink

Than a square mile o' larks in printer's ink.

Another bird-the phoebe-so called from its note, has a whole poem devoted to its praise. It sings this plain note at earliest dawn before the other birds are awake, and the poet throws much pathos and imagination into his reflections on the sad, plaintive cadence of this little waif in feathers. It is a wee sad-coloured thing,

As shy and secret as a maid,
That, ere in choir the robins sing,
Pipes its own name like one afraid.

It seems pain-prompted to repeat
The story of some ancient ill,
But Phoebe ! Phoebe ! sadly sweet
Is all it says, and then is still.

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