Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
The Bobolink
By Thomas Hill (1818–1891)
 
[Born in New Brunswick, N. J., 1818. Died in Waltham, Mass., 1891.]

BOBOLINK! that in the meadow,
Or beneath the orchard’s shadow,
Keepest up a constant rattle
Joyous as my children’s prattle,
Welcome to the north again!        5
Welcome to mine ear thy strain,
Welcome to mine eye the sight
Of thy buff, thy black and white!
Brighter plumes may greet the sun
By the banks of Amazon;        10
Sweeter tones may weave the spell
Of enchanting Philomel;
But the tropic bird would fail,
And the English nightingale,
If we should compare their worth        15
With thine endless, gushing mirth.
 
When the ides of May are past,
June and Summer nearing fast,
While from depths of blue above
Comes the mighty breath of love,        20
Calling out each bud and flower
With resistless, secret power,
Waking hope and fond desire,
Kindling the erotic fire,
Filling youths’ and maidens’ dreams        25
With mysterious, pleasing themes;
Then, amid the sunlight clear
Floating in the fragrant air,
Thou dost fill each heart with pleasure
By thy glad ecstatic measure.        30
 
A single note, so sweet and low,
Like a full heart’s overflow,
Forms the prelude; but the strain
Gives no such tone again,
For the wild and saucy song        35
Leaps and skips the notes among,
With such quick and sportive play,
Ne’er was madder, merrier lay.
 
Gayest songster of the Spring!
Thy melodies before me bring        40
Visions of some dream-built land,
Where, by constant zephyrs fanned,
I might walk the livelong day,
Embosomed in perpetual May.
Nor care nor fear thy bosom knows;        45
For thee a tempest never blows;
 
But when our northern Summer’s o’er,
By Delaware’s or Schuylkill’s shore
The wild rice lifts its airy head,
And royal feasts for thee are spread.        50
And when the Winter threatens there,
Thy tireless wings yet own no fear,
But bear thee to more southern coasts,
Far beyond the reach of frosts.
 
Bobolink! still may thy gladness        55
Take from me all taints of sadness;
Fill my soul with trust unshaken
In that Being who has taken
Care for every living thing,
In Summer, Winter, Fall, and Spring.        60
 
 
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