Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1322. The Scarlet Tanager
By Mary Augusta Mason
A FLAME went flitting through the wood;
The neighboring birds all understood
    Here was a marvel of their kind;
And silent was each feathered throat
To catch the brilliant stranger’s note,        5
And folded every songster’s wing
To hide its sober coloring.
    Against the tender green outlined,
He bore himself with splendid ease,
As though alone among the trees.        10
The glory passed from bough to bough—
The maple was in blossom now,
And then the oak, remembering
The crimson hint it gave in spring,
And every tree its branches swayed        15
And offered its inviting shade;
Where’er a bough detained him long,
A slender, silver thread of song
Was lightly, merrily unspun.
From early morn till day was done        20
    The vision flitted to and fro.
At last the wood was all alone;
But, ere the restless flame had flown,
He left a secret with each bough,
And in the Fall, where one is now,        25
    A thousand tanagers will glow.


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