The Child and the Songbird

  Happy bird in the linden-tree !
      Bright is the gold on your beautiful wing ;
  By the gurgling brook, come play with me,
      And sing me the strain you often sing.
  Light are the buds on the bending tree ;
      The stream, the moon and the evening star,
  And May-day carols, are dear to me ;
      But your sweet voice is lovelier far ;
  I have read my Ballad of wondrous deeds,
      I have thrown aside the fairy book ;
  Come, play with me by the whispering reeds
      That shelter the shore of our shining brook.

  Pretty child ! I would rove with you
      By the gurgling brook you love to hear,
  From the dawn, that brightens the silvery dew,
      Till the moon and the little blue stars appear ;
  But here, aloft in my linden-tree,
      Where woodbine clusters round the stem,
  Are four pretty forms most dear to me ;
      My heart and my songs are all for them !
  I may fall where the leaves of the autumn lie,
      I may welcome the smile of the merry New Year,
  I can only worship and sing and die ;
     Such is my slender duty here !

  Pretty bird in the linden-tree !
      Would that mine were those beautiful wings,
  That I could flutter aloft, and see
      The sparkling eyes of those innocent things
  Do you know that an old man yesterday
      Called me a " poor little orphan child " ?
  (We often meet in the sheltered way
      Where the star--flowers grow and the weeds run wild.)
  He welcomed me with a merrier word,
      Wandering here by the woodland dell,
  For he called me a " sweet little playful bird " :
      Am I like the forms you love so well ?

  Pretty child ! You are lovelier far
      Than birds, or flowers or bending trees ---
  Than sun,  and moon, and evening star,
      And all that the glance of Nature sees.
  Everything  must fade away,
      Flowers and leaves must droop and fall,
  But your little soul shall dwell for aye
      With the spirit divine, who made them all !
  Hark ! for I hear the matron nigh,
      Hailing thee home to her friendly door ;
  And the sun is bright in the western sky !
      Hence, hence ! ---- I never was sad before.

Written by
Francis Paul Palmer

Francis Paul Palmer was born in 1808 and died in 1872. During his career he held the post of Medical Officer of Health to the Borough of Walsall.   

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