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The REDBREAST and the BUTTERFLY.
Art thou the Bird whom Man loves best,
The pious Bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin ;
The Bird that comes about our doors
When Autumn winds are sobbing ?
Art thou the Peter of Norway Boors ?
Their Thomas in Finland,
And Russia far inland ? The Bird, whom by some name or other All men who know thee call their Brother, The Darling of Children and men ? Could Father Adam open his eyes, And see this sight beneath the skies, He'd wish to close them again.
If the Butterfly knew but his friend
Hither his flight he would bend,
And find his way to me
Under the branches of the tree:
In and out, he darts about;
His little heart is throbbing :
Can this be the Bird, to man so good,
Our consecrated Robin !
That, after their bewildering,
Did cover with leaves the little children,
So painfully in the wood ?
What ail'd thee Robin that thou could'st pursue
A beautiful Creature,
That is gentle by nature ?
Beneath the summer sky
From flower to flower let him fly;
'Tis all that he wishes to do.
The Chearer Thon of our in-door sadness,
He is the Friend of our summer gladness :
What hinders, then, that ye should be
Playmates in the sunny weather,
And fly about in the air together?
Like the hues of thy breast
His beautiful wings in crimson are drest,
A brother he seems of thine own:
If thou would'st be happy in thy nest,
O pions Bird! whom Man loves best,
Love him, or leave him alone !
One morning (raw it was and wet,
A foggy day in winter time)
A Woman in the road I met,
Not old, though something past her prime:
Majestic in her person, tall and straight;
And like a Roman matron's was her mien and gait.
The ancient Spirit is not dead;
Old times, thought I, are breathing there;
Prond was I that my country bred
Sach strength, a dignity so fair:
She begg'd an alms, like one in poor estate; I look'd at her again, nor did my pride abate.
When from these lofty thoughts I woke,
With the first word I had to spare
I said to her, “ Beneath your Cloak
What's that which on your arm you bear ? "
She answer'd soon as she the question heard, A simple barthen, Sir, a little Singing-bird.”
And, thus continuing, she said,
“I had a Son, who many a day
Sail'd on the seas; but he is dead;
In Denmark he was cast away;
And I have been as far as Hall, to see
What clothes he might have left, or other property.
The Bird and Cage they both were his;
'Twas my Son's Bird; and neat and trim
He kept it: many voyages
This Singing-bird hath gone with him;
When last he sail'd he left the Bird behind; As it might be, perhaps, from bodings of his mind.