Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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A WREN'S NEST

          AMONG the dwellings framed by birds
            In field or forest with nice care,
          Is none that with the little Wren's
            In snugness may compare.

          No door the tenement requires,
            And seldom needs a laboured roof;
          Yet is it to the fiercest sun
            Impervious, and storm-proof.

          So warm, so beautiful withal,
            In perfect fitness for its aim,                           10
          That to the Kind by special grace
            Their instinct surely came.

          And when for their abodes they seek
            An opportune recess,
          The hermit has no finer eye
            For shadowy quietness.

          These find, 'mid ivied abbey-walls,
            A canopy in some still nook;
          Others are pent-housed by a brae
            That overhangs a brook.                                   20

          There to the brooding bird her mate
            Warbles by fits his low clear song;
          And by the busy streamlet both
            Are sung to all day long.

          Or in sequestered lanes they build,
            Where, till the flitting bird's return,
          Her eggs within the nest repose,
            Like relics in an urn.

          But still, where general choice is good,
            There is a better and a best;                             30
          And, among fairest objects, some
            Are fairer than the rest;

          This, one of those small builders proved
            In a green covert, where, from out
          The forehead of a pollard oak,
            The leafy antlers sprout;

          For She who planned the mossy lodge,
            Mistrusting her evasive skill,
          Had to a Primrose looked for aid
            Her wishes to fulfil.                                     40

          High on the trunk's projecting brow,
            And fixed an infant's span above
          The budding flowers, peeped forth the nest
            The prettiest of the grove!

          The treasure proudly did I show
            To some whose minds without disdain
          Can turn to little things; but once
            Looked up for it in vain:

          'Tis gone--a ruthless spoiler's prey,
            Who heeds not beauty, love, or song,                      50
          'Tis gone! (so seemed it) and we grieved
            Indignant at the wrong.

          Just three days after, passing by
            In clearer light the moss-built cell
          I saw, espied its shaded mouth;
            And felt that all was well.

          The Primrose for a veil had spread
            The largest of her upright leaves;
          And thus, for purposes benign,
            A simple flower deceives.                                 60

          Concealed from friends who might disturb
            Thy quiet with no ill intent,
          Secure from evil eyes and hands
            On barbarous plunder bent,

          Rest, Mother-bird! and when thy young
            Take flight, and thou art free to roam,
          When withered is the guardian Flower,
            And empty thy late home,

          Think how ye prospered, thou and thine,
            Amid the unviolated grove                                 70
          Housed near the growing Primrose-tuft
            In foresight, or in love.
                                                              1833.


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