One eve while indulging my poetic mood,
Strayed by the side of a shaggy old wood,
And there a sweet robin was perched on a tree
And gaily he whistled a solo for me.
Delighted to hear him so prettily sing,
I thought I had heard the first music of spring,
But, no--for the north-wind had scattered his breath,
And all the green foliage was frozen to death;
Relentless old winter had stalked o'er the land
And hard was the grip of his cold, frosty hand,
And the daughters of Flora which smiled o'er the plain
Had fled from the fierceness of winter's dark reign;
And hushed were the valleys, the wood and the grove,
For the songsters had ceased from their concerts of love.
Yet this robin redbreast continued to sing,
Not caring much whether 'twas winter or spring.
Said I, "My gay robin, why are you alone?
And what has excited such sweetness of tone?
You have no companions to share in your bliss--
They could not rejoice in a season like this;
Then how is it, robin, that you are so gay
When summer's migrators have flown far away?"
Quoth robin, "I have a companion, but she
Is now in the bush a short distance from me,
And I sing to cheer her, while she in the wood
Is now looking out for a morsel of food,
And when she returns she will perch on this bough,
And sing for me then as I sing for her now.
And when our food fails us and drifting winds blow,
And cover the mountains and valleys with snow,
We'll leave the bleak forest and come like the poor
To beg a few crumbs at some friendly man's door.
For man has been always most generous and kind,
And so in his dwelling a shelter we'll find;
And the good little children will feed us with bread
Nor suffer sly pussy to put us in dread.
A tale is on record which tends to our good,
Concerning the fate of the 'Babes of the Wood,'
And how a kind robin bestowed so much pains
To cover with leaves these dear orphans remains;
And since that occurrence no good little boy
Will us or our nests or our young ones annoy."
With this his companion returned to the tree,
And both flying off bade good evening to me;
And then I came home and retired to rest
Well pleased with my interview with the redbreast.