Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
To a Humming-bird in a Garden
By George Murray (1830–1910)
BLITHE playmate of the Summer time,
  Admiringly I greet thee;
Born in old England’s misty clime,
  I scarcely hoped to meet thee.
Com’st thou from forest of Peru,        5
  Or from Brazil’s savannahs,
Where flowers of every dazzling hue
  Flaunt, gorgeous as Sultanas?
Thou scannest me with doubtful gaze,
  Suspicious little stranger!        10
Fear not, thy burnished wings may blaze
  Secure from harm or danger.
Now here, now there, thy flash is seen,
  Like some stray sunbeam darting,
With scarce a second’s space between        15
  Its coming and departing.
Mate of the bird that lives sublime
  In Pat’s immortal blunder,
Spied in two places at a time,
  Thou challengest our wonder.        20
Suspended by thy slender bill,
  Sweet blooms thou lov’st to rifle;
The subtle perfumes they distil
  Might well thy being stifle.
Surely the honey-dew of flowers        25
  Is slightly alcoholic,
Or why, through burning August hours,
  Dost thou pursue thy frolic?
What though thy throatlet never rings
  With music, soft or stirring;        30
Still, like a spinning-wheel, thy wings
  Incessantly are whirring.
How dearly I would love to see
  Thy tiny cara sposa,
As full of sensibility        35
  As any coy mimosa!
They say, when hunters track her nest,
  Where two warm pearls are lying,
She boldly fights, though sore distrest,
  And sends the brigands flying.        40
What dainty epithets thy tribes
  Have won from men of science!
Pedantic and poetic scribes
  For once are in alliance.
Crested Coquette, and Azure Crown,        45
  Sun Jewel, Ruby-Throated,
With Flaming Topaz, Crimson Down,
  Are names that may be quoted.
Such titles aim to paint the hues
  That on the darlings glitter,        50
And were we for a week to muse,
  We scarce could light on fitter.
Farewell, bright bird! I envy thee,
  Gay rainbow-tinted rover;
Would that my life, like thine, were free        55
  From care till all is over!

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