Verse > Anthologies > George Willis Cooke, ed. > The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology
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George Willis Cooke, comp.  The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology.  1903.
 
Golden Crown Sparrow of Alaska
By John Burroughs (1837–1921)
 
OH, minstrel of these borean hills,
  Where twilight hours are long,
I would my boyhood’s fragrant days
  Had known thy plaintive song;
 
Had known thy vest of ashen gray,        5
  Thy coat of drab and brown,
The bands of jet upon thy head
  That clasp thy golden crown.
 
We heard thee in the cold White Pass,
  Where cloud and mountain meet,        10
Again where Muir’s glacier shone
  Far spread beneath our feet.
 
I bask me now on emerald heights
  To catch thy faintest strain,
But cannot tell if in thy lay        15
  Be more of joy or pain.
 
Far off behold the snow-white peaks
  Athwart the sea’s blue-shade;
Anear there rise green Kadiak hills,
  Wherein thy nest is made.        20
 
I hear the wild bee’s mellow chord,
  In airs that swim above;
The lesser hermit tunes his flute
  To solitude and love.
 
But thou, sweet singer of the wild,        25
  I give more heed to thee;
Thy wistful note of fond regret
  Strikes deeper chords in me.
 
Farewell, dear bird! I turn my face
  To other skies than thine—        30
A thousand leagues of land and sea
  Between thy home and mine.
 
 
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