Nonfiction > Walt Whitman > Prose Works > I. Specimen Days > 224. A Couple of Old Friends—A Coleridge Bit
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Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Prose Works. 1892.
  
I. Specimen Days
224. A Couple of Old Friends—A Coleridge Bit
  
Latter April.—HAVE run down in my country haunt for a couple of days, and am spending them by the pond. I had already discover’d my kingfisher here (but only one—the mate not here yet.) This fine bright morning, down by the creek, he has come out for a spree, circling, flirting, chirping at a round rate. While I am writing these lines he is disporting himself in scoots and rings over the wider parts of the pond, into whose surface he dashes, once or twice making a loud souse—the spray flying in the sun—beautiful! I see his white and dark-gray plumage and peculiar shape plainly, as he has deign’d to come very near me. The noble, graceful bird! Now he is sitting on the limb of an old tree, high up, bending over the water—seems to be looking at me while I memorandize. I almost fancy he knows me. Three days later.—My second kingfisher is here with his (or her) mate. I saw the two together flying and whirling around. I had heard, in the distance, what I thought was the clear rasping staccato of the birds several times already—but I couldn’t be sure the notes came from both until I saw them together. To-day at noon they appear’d, but apparently either on business, or for a little limited exercise only. No wild frolic now, full of free fun and motion, up and down for an hour. Doubtless, now they have cares, duties, incubation responsibilities. The frolics are deferr’d till summer-close.   1
  I don’t know as I can finish to-day’s memorandum better than with Coleridge’s lines, curiously appropriate in more ways than one:
        “All Nature seems at work—slugs leave their lair,
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing,
And winter, slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of spring;
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.”
   1
  I don’t know as I can finish to-day’s memorandum better than with Coleridge’s lines, curiously appropriate in more ways than one:
        “All Nature seems at work—slugs leave their lair,
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing,
And winter, slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of spring;
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.”
   2

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