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Our last quotation shall be from The Biglow Papers in the characteristic Yankee dialect, which adds a piquancy of its own.

Our spring gits everythin' in tune

An' gives one leap from April into June;
Then all comes crowdin' in ; afore you think,

Young oak-leaves mist the side-hill woods with pink;

The cat-bird in the laylock bush is loud ;

The orchards turn to heaps o' rosy cloud;

Red cedars blossom tu, though few folks know it,
An' look all dipt in sunshine like a poet;

The lime trees pile their solid stacks o' shade
An' drows❜ly simmer with the bees' sweet trade;
In ellum-shrouds the flashin' hangbird clings,
An' for the summer v'y'ge his hammock slings;
All down the loose-walled lanes in archin' bowers
The barb'ry droops its strings o' golden flowers,
Whose shrinkin' hearts the school gals love to try
With pins. They'll worry yourn so, boys, bimeby!

'Nuff sed. June's bridesman, poet o' the year,
Gladness on wings, the bobolink is here;

Half hid in tip-top apple blooms he swings,

Or climbs against the breeze with quivering wings,

Or givin' way to't in a mock despair,

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

This superb description of the bobolink reminds us that we have avoided saying anything of Lowell's birds. These figure very prominently in his poetry,

but we reserve them for our last chapter.



LOWELL, as we saw, was a soul in happy touch with Nature. The open air and the sight of trees and flowers acted upon his nervous system like an intoxicant. In the presence of Nature he felt stimulated, elevated, ecstatic. Nothing affected him so much in this way as the birds—the birds of America, which are unfamiliar to us-the bobolink, the oriole, the medrick, the loon, the phoebe, and so on. These are much in evidence in his verse; he has full knowledge of their ways, and he paints them with great vividness and with, for him, unusual brevity. Take first his portrait of the owl as depicted in his little poem, On Planting a Tree at Inverara. The poet had been asked to plant a memorial tree at the Duke of Argyll's mansion-house. He signalised the occasion by some verses, in which one of his reflections is that a tree will live long after the planter is epitaphed

and forgotten; it will expand its branches and become a shelter for man and beast.

The wayfarer at noon reposing

Shall bless its shadow on the grass,
Or sheep beneath it huddle, dozing,
Until the thunder-gust is past.

The owl, belated in his plundering,
Shall here await the friendly night,
Blinking whene'er he wakes, and wondering
What fool it was invented light.

Hither the busy birds shall flutter,
With the light timber for their nests,
And, passing from their labour, utter
The morning sunshine in their breasts.

That is the owl. The rook comes

memorial verses on Agassiz.

The garrulous memories

Gather again from all their far-flown nooks,
Singly at first, and then by twos and threes,
Then in a throng innumerable, as the rooks
Thicken their twilight files

into his

Tow'rd Tintern's grey repose of roofless aisles.

An Indian Summer Reverie is full of bird references. We quote two characteristic stanzas :—

The cock's shrill trump that tells of scattered corn,
Passed breezily on by all his flapping mates,
Faint and more faint, from barn to barn is borne,
Southwards, perhaps to far Magellan's Straits;

Dimly I catch the throb of distant flails;

Silently o'erhead the hen hawk sails,


With watchful, measuring eye, and for his quarry waits.

The sobered robin, hunger-silent now,

Seeks cedar-berries blue, his autumn cheer;

The chipmunk, on the shingly shag bark's bough,
Now saws, now lists with downward eye and ear,
Then drops his nut, and cheeping, with a bound
Whisks to his winding fastness underground:

The clouds like swans drift down the streaming atmosphere.

We must not forget that the American robin is not our redbreast, but a different bird. The chipmunk is, of course, a squirrel. In his poem, The Cathedral, he describes how the sparrows have built their nests in its weather-beaten pinnacles.

About their shoulders sparrows had built nests,
And fluttered, chirping, from grey perch to perch,
Now on a mitre poising, now a crown,

Irreverently happy. While I thought

How confident they were, what careless hearts
Flew on these lightsome wings and shared the sun,
A larger shadow crossed; and looking up,

I saw where, nesting in the hoary towers,
The sparrow-hawk slid forth on noiseless air

With sidelong head that watched the joy below-
Grim Norman baron o'er his clan of Kelts.

These are all good in their


but the poet


best when describing the birds of New England, the oriole and the bobolink, which are undoubtedly

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,

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