Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
21. The Blue-Bird
 
By Alexander Wilson
 
 
WHEN winter’s cold tempests and snows are no more,
  Green meadows and brown-furrowed fields reappearing,
The fishermen hauling their shad to the shore,
  And cloud-cleaving geese to the Lakes are a-steering;
When first the lone butterfly flits on the wing;        5
  When red glow the maples, so fresh and so pleasing,
Oh then comes the blue-bird, the herald of spring!
  And hails with his warblings the charms of the season.
 
Then loud-piping frogs make the marshes to ring;
  Then warm glows the sunshine, and fine is the weather;        10
The blue woodland flowers just beginning to spring,
  And spicewood and sassafras budding together:
Oh then to your gardens, ye housewives, repair!
  Your walks border up; sow and plant at your leisure;
The blue-bird will chant from his box such an air        15
  That all your hard toils will seem truly a pleasure.
 
He flits through the orchards, he visits each tree,
  The red-flowering peach and the apple’s sweet blossoms;
He snaps up destroyers wherever they be,
  And seizes the caitiffs that lurk in their bosoms;        20
He drags the vile grub from the corn he devours,
  The worm from their webs where they riot and welter;
His song and his services freely are ours,
  And all that he asks is in summer a shelter.
 
The ploughman is pleased when he gleans in his train,        25
  Now searching the furrows, now mounting to cheer him;
The gardener delights in his sweet simple strain,
  And leans on his spade to survey and to hear him;
The slow-lingering schoolboys forget they ’ll be chid,
  While gazing intent as he warbles before ’em        30
In mantle of sky-blue, and bosom so red,
  That each little loiterer seems to adore him.
 
When all the gay scenes of the summer are o’er,
  And autumn slow enters so silent and sallow,
And millions of warblers, that charmed us before,        35
  Have fled in the train of the sun-seeking swallow,
The blue-bird forsaken, yet true to his home,
  Still lingers, and looks for a milder to-morrow,
Till, forced by the horrors of winter to roam,
  He sings his adieu in a lone note of sorrow.        40
 
While spring’s lovely season, serene, dewy, warm,
  The green face of earth, and the pure blue of heaven,
Or love’s native music, have influence to charm,
  Or sympathy’s glow to our feelings is given,
Still dear to each bosom the blue-bird shall be;        45
  His voice like the thrillings of hope is a treasure;
For, through bleakest storms if a calm he but see,
  He comes to remind us of sunshine and pleasure!
 

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