Menella Bute Smedley

Birds

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Many voices in the woodlands
Strike on the delighted ear,—
Voices from the trees above us
Singing to the opening year;
Notes that seem to come from heaven
Making earth and sky so near.
Little birds, serene and happy,
Surely in your upward flight

Ye are touch'd with heaven's glory,
Ye are bathed in heaven's light;
And its colours and its shadows
Make you creatures of delight.
Little robin! little robin!
Is the glow upon your breast
Only the reflected splendour
Of the sunset in the west?
Hath the sunset tinged your bosom,
Little bird that I love best?
Tell me, golden-coloured finches,
Whose resplendent plumage vies
With the glory of the morning
Just before the sunbeams rise,—
Is, indeed, your radiant colour
Stolen from the Eastern skies?

Humming-bird and stately parrot,
On your crests and on your wings
Rainbow hues are ever changing,
Rainbow beauty ever clings;
Have you visited the rainbow,
Pretty, sparkling, painted things?
But the little humble creatures
(Very sweet their voices too!)
Who are wrapp'd in russet mantles,
Like the clouds of sombre hue,—
Do you think beneath that shadow
Is a garb of heaven's own blue?
Do you think, to angels' glances
They are clad like shining flowers,
And their hues are only gloomy
Unto eyes as dull as ours?

Oh, that we had humbler spirits,
Purer hearts, and keener powers!
Little voices in the woodlands,
Little creatures in the air,
Sweet it is at morn and evening,
Music floating everywhere;
Dear to me your little voices
Kindling hope and soothing care.

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Menella Bute Smedley