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the mocking-bird plays a part. The poet's treatment of the bird is entirely ideal and eminently characteristic. That is to say, it is altogether poetical and not at all ornithological; yet it contains a rendering or free translation of a bird-song-the nocturn of the mocking-bird, singing and calling through the night for its lost mate that I consider quite unmatched in our literature.

Once, Paumanok,

When the snows had melted, and the Fifth-month grass was growing,

Up this sca-shore, in some briers,

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Two guests from Alabama - two together,

And their nest, and four light-green eggs, spotted with brown,
And every day the he-bird, to and fro, near at hand,

And every day the she-bird, crouched on her nest, silent, with bright


And every day I, a curious boy, never too close, never disturbing


Cautiously peering, absorbing, translating.

Shine! Shine! Shine!

Pour down your warmth, great Sun !

While we bask-we two together.

Two together!

Winds blow South, or winds blow North,

Day come white, or night come black,

Home, or rivers and mountains from home,

Singing all time, minding no time,

If we two but keep together.

Till of a sudden,

Maybe killed, unknown to her mate,

One forenoon the she-bird crouched not on the nest,

Nor returned that afternoon, nor the next,

Nor ever appeared again.

And thenceforward, all summer, in the sound of the sea, And at night, under the full of the moon, in calmer weather, Over the hoarse surging of the sea,

Or flitting from brier to brier by day,

I saw, I heard at intervals, the remaining one, the he-bird,
The solitary guest from Alabama.

Blow! blow! blow!

Blow up, sea-winds, along Paumanok's shore!

I wait and I wait, till you blow my mate to me.

Yes, when the stars glistened,

All night long, on the prong of a moss-scalloped stake,
Down, almost amid the slapping waves,

Sat the lone singer, wonderful, causing tears.

He called on his mate:

He poured forth the meanings which I, of all men, know.

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Close on its wave soothes the wave behind,

And again another behind, embracing and lapping, every one


But my love soothes not me, not me.

Low hangs the moon — it rose late.

Oh it is lagging-oh I think it is heavy with love, with love.

Oh madly the sea pushes, pushes upon the land,

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O night! do I not see my love fluttering out there among the breakers?

What is that little black thing I see there in the white?

Loud! loud! loud!

Loud I call to you, my love!

High and clear I shoot my voice over the waves ;

Surely you must know who is here, is here;

You must know who I am, my love.

Low hanging moon!

What is that dusky spot in your brown yellow?
Oh it is the shape, the shape of my mate!

O moon, do not keep her from me any longer.

Land! land! O land!

Whichever way I turn, oh I think you could give my mate back

again, if you only would;

For I am almost sure I see her dimly whichever way I look.

O rising stars!

Perhaps the one I want so much will rise, will rise with some of


O throat! O trembling throat!

Sound clearer through the atmosphere!

Pierce the woods, the earth;

Somewhere listening to catch you, must be the one I want.

Shake out, carols!

Solitary here the night's carols!

Carols of lonesome love! Death's carols!

Carols under that lagging, yellow, waning moon!

Oh, under that moon, where she droops almost down into the sea!
O reckless, despairing carols.

But soft! sink low;

Soft! let me just murmur ;

And do you wait a moment, you husky-noised sea;

For somewhere I believe I heard my mate responding to me,

So faint- I must be still, be still to listen;

But not altogether still, for then she might not come immediately to


Hither, my love!

Here I am! Iere!

With this just-sustained note I announce myself to you;

This gentle call is for you, my love, for you.

Do not be decoyed elsewhere!

That is the whistle of the wind-it is not my voice;


That is the fluttering, the fluttering of the spray;
Those are the shadows of leaves.

O darkness! Oh in vain !

Oh I am very sick and sorrowful.

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The bird that occupies the second place to the nightingale in British poetical literature is the skylark, a pastoral bird as the Philomel is an arboreal,a creature of light and air and motion, the companion of the plowman, the shepherd, the harvester,— whose nest is in the stubble and whose tryst is in the clouds. Its life affords that kind of contrast which the imagination loves one moment a plain pedestrian-bird, hardly distinguishable from the ground, the next a soaring, untiring songster, reveling in the upper air, challenging the eye to follow him and the ear to separate his notes.

The lark's song is not especially melodious, but lithesome, sibilant, and unceasing. Its type is the grass, where the bird makes its home, abounding, multitudinous, the notes nearly all alike and all in the same key, but rapid, swarming, prodigal, showering down as thick and fast as drops of rain in a summer shower.

Many noted poets have sung the praises of the lark or been kindled by his example. Shelley's ode, and Wordsworth's "To a Skylark," are well known to all readers of poetry, while every school-boy will recall Hogg's poem, beginning

"Bird of the wilderness,

Blithesome and cumberless,

Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea!

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Emblem of happiness,

Blest is thy dwelling place

Oh to abide in the desert with thee!"

I heard of an enthusiastic American who went about English fields hunting a lark with Shelley's poem in his hand, thinking no doubt to use it as a kind of guide-book to the intricacies and harmonics of the song. He reported not having heard any larks, though I have little doubt they were soaring and singing about him all the time, though of course they did not sing to his car the song that Shelley heard. The poets are the best natural historians, only you must know how to read them. They trans

late the facts largely and freely. A celebrated lady once said to Turner, "I confess, I cannot see in nature what you do." "Ah, madam," said the complacent artist, "don't you wish you could!"

Shelley's poem is perhaps better known and has a higher reputation among literary folk than Wordsworth's; it is more lyrical and lark-like; but it is needlessly long, though no longer than the lark's song itself, but the lark can't help it and Shelley can. I

quote only a few stanzas:

"In the golden lightning

Of the sunken sun,

O'er which clouds are brightning,

Thou dost float and run,

Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

"The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven,
In the broad daylight

Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.

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