Both are ever on the wing,

Wanderers both in foreign bowers;
Both succeed the parting spring,

Both depart with summer hours.
Those who love the minstrel lay
Should not on each other prey.

Translation of G. MerivaLE.



Sung by the Children, passing from Door to Door, at the Return of the Swallovo.

The swallow is come!

The swallow is come!
He brings us the season of vernal delight,
With his back all of sable, and belly of white.

Have you nothing to spare,
That his palate would please-
A fig, or a pear,
Or a slice of rich cheese ?
Mark, he bars all delay :
At a word, my friend, say,
Is it yes, is it nay?
Do we go? do we stay?
One gift, and we're gone:
Refuse, and anon,
On your gate and your door
All our fury we pour ;
Or our strength shall be tried
On your sweet little bride ;
From her seat we will tear her,
From her home we will bear her;
She is light, and will ask
But small hands for the task.
Let your bounty then lift
A small aid to our mirth,
And whate'er the gift,
Let its size speak its worth.
The swallow, the swallow,
Upon you doth wait;
An alms-man and suppliant,
He stands at ur gate;
Let him in then, I say,

For no gray-beards are we,
To be foiled in our glee;
But boys who will have our own way.

Translation of MITCHELL



Hal. While we have been conversing, the May-flies, which were in such quantities, have become much fewer; and I believe the reason is. that they have been greatly diminished by the flocks of swallows which everywhere pursue them. I have seen a single swallow take four, in less than a quarter of a minute, that were descending to the water.

Poict. I delight in this living landscape! The swallow is one of my favorite birds, and a rival of the nightingale; for he cheers my sense of seeing as much as the other does my sense of hearing. He is the glad prophet of the year--the harbinger of the best season : he lives a life of enjoyment among the loveliest forms of Nature. Winter is unknown to him; and he leaves the green meadows of England, in autumn, for the myrtle and orange groves of Italy, and for the palms of Africa. He has always objects of pursuit, and his success is secure. Even the beings selected for his prey are poetical, beautiful, and transient. The ephemeræ are saved by his means from a slow and lingering death in the evening, and killed in a moment, when they have known nothing of life but pleasure. He is the constant destroyer of insects--the friend of man; and, with the stork and ibis, may be regarded as a sacred bird. This instinct, which gives him his appointed seasons, and teaches him always when and where to move, may be regarded as flowing from a Divine Source; and he belongs to the Oracles of Nature, which speak the awful and intelligible language of a present Deity.




When Phæbus lifts his head out of the winter's wave,
No sooner doth the earth her flowery bosom brave;
At such time as the year brings on the pleasant spring,
But hunts-up to the morn the feather'd sylvans sing;
And in the lower grove, as on the rising knole,
Upon the highest spray of every mounting pole
Those choristers are perch'd, with many a speckled breast;
Then from her burnish'd gate the goodly glittering East

Gilds every lofty top, which late the numorous night
Bespangled had with pearl, to please the morning's sight;
On which the mirthful choirs, with their clear, open throats,
Unto the joyful morn so strain their warbling notes,
That hills and valleys ring, and even the echoing air
Seems all composed of sounds about them everywhere.

MICHAEL Draytox, 1563-1631.


Good-morrow to thy sable beak,
And glossy plumage, dark and sleek-
Thy crimson moon and azure eye-
Cock of the heath, so wildly shy !
I see thee slowly cowering through
That wiry web of silver dew,
That twinkles in the morning air,
Like casement of my lady fair.
A maid there is in yonder tower,
Who, peeping from her early bower,
Half shows, like thee, with simple wile,
Her braided hair and morning smile.
The rarest things, with wayward will,
Beneath the covert hide them still;
The rarest things, to light of day
Look shortly forth, and break away.

One fleeting moment of delight
I warmed me in her cheering sight,
And short, I ween, the time will be
That I shall parley hold with thee.
Through Snowdon's mist red beams the day ;
The climbing herd-boy chants his lay;
The gnat-flies dance their sunny ring ;
Thou art already on the wing.



Wing'd mimic of the woods! thou motley fool,

Who shall thy gay buffoonery describe ?
Thine ever-ready notes of ridicule

Pursue thy fellows still with jest and gibe :
Wit, sophist, songster, Yorick of thy tribe,

Thou sportive satirist of Nature's school,

To thee the palm of scoffing we ascribe, Arch mcaker, and mad Abbot of Mis-Rule!

For such thou art by day-but all night long Thou pour'st a soft, sweet, pensive, solemn strain,

As if thou didst in this thy moonlight song Like to the melancholy Jacques complain

Musing on falsehood, folly, vice, and wrong, And sighing for thy motley coat again.



Thou vocal sprite-thou feathered troubadour !

In pilgrim weeds through many a clime a ranger, Com'st thou to doff thy russet suit once more,

And play in foppish trim the masking stranger ? Philosophers may teach thy whereabout and nature,

But, wise as all of us, perforce, must think 'em, The school-boy best hath fix'd thy nomenclature,

And poets, too, must call thee “ Bob-o-linkum !”

Say, art thou long 'mid forest glooms benighted,

So glad to skim our laughing meadows over--
With our gay orchards here so much delighted,

It makes thee musical, thou airy rover ?
Or are those buoyant notes the pilfer'd treasure

Of fairy isles, which thou hast learn'd to ravish
Of all their sweetest minstrelsy at pleasure,

And, Ariel-like, again on men to lavish ?

They tell sad stories of thy mad-cap freaks,

Wherever o'er the land thy pathway ranges ; And even in a brace of wandering weeks,

They say alike thy song and plumage changes ;
These both are gay; and when the buds put forth,

And leafy June is shading rock and river,
Thou art unmatch’d, blithe warbler of the North,

While through the balmy air thy clear notes quiver.

Joyous, yet tender, was that gush of song,

Caught from the brooks, where 'mid its wild flowers smiling, The silent prairie listens all day long,

The only captive to such sweet beguiling ;

Or didst thou, fitting through the verdurous halls,

And column'd isles of western groves symphonious, Learn from the tuneful woods rare madrigals,

To make our flowering pastures here harmonious ?

Caught'st thou thy carol from Ottawa maid,

Where through the liquid fields of wild rice plashingBrushing the ears from off the burden'd blade,

Her birch canoe o'er some lone lake is flashing ? Or did the reeds of some savanna South,

Detain thee while thy northern flight pursuing, To place those melodies in thy sweet mouth,

The spice-fed winds had taught them in their wooing?

Unthrifty prodigal! is no thought of ill

Thy ceaseless roundelay disturbing ever ?
Or doth each pulse in choiring cadence still

Throb on in music till at rest forever ?
Yet now in 'wilder'd maze of concord floating,

"Twould seem that glorious hymning to prolong, Old Time, in hearing thee, might fall a-doating, And pause to listen to thy rapturous song!



High rides the moon amid the fleecy clouds,
That glisten as they float athwart her disk ;
Sweet is the glimpse that for a moment plays
Among these mouldering pinnacles; but hark
That dismal cry! it is the wailing owl,
Night long she mourns, perched in some vacant niche,
Or time-rent crevice; sometimes to the woods
She bends her silent, slowly-moving wing,
And on some leatless tree, dead of old age,
Sits watching for her prey ; but should the foot
Of man intrude into her solemn shades,
Startled, he hears the fragile, breaking branch
Crash as she rises; farther in the gloom
To deeper solitude she wings her way.


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