Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1821–1834
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vol. V: Literature of the Republic, Part II., 1821–1834
 
Robert of Lincoln
By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)
 
[From Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant. Edited by Parke Godwin. 1883.]

MERRILY swinging on brier and weed,
  Near to the nest of his little dame,
Over the mountain-side or mead,
  Robert of Lincoln is telling his name:
      Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,        5
      Spink, spank, spink;
Snug and safe is that nest of ours,
Hidden among the summer flowers.
                Chee, chee, chee.
 
Robert of Lincoln is gayly drest,        10
  Wearing a bright black wedding coat;
White are his shoulders and white his crest.
  Hear him call in his merry note:
      Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;        15
Look, what a nice new coat is mine,
Sure there was never a bird so fine.
                Chee, chee, chee.
 
Robert of Lincoln’s Quaker wife,
  Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,        20
Passing at home a patient life,
  Broods in the grass while her husband sings:
      Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
Brood, kind creature; you need not fear        25
Thieves and robbers while I am here.
                Chee, chee, chee.
 
Modest and shy as a nun is she;
  One weak chirp is her only note.
Braggart and prince of braggarts is he,        30
  Pouring boasts from his little throat:
      Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
Never was I afraid of man;
Catch me, cowardly knaves, if you can!        35
                Chee, chee, chee.
 
Six white eggs on a bed of hay,
  Flecked with purple, a pretty sight!
There as the mother sits all day,
  Robert is singing with all his might:        40
      Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
Nice good wife, that never goes out,
Keeping house while I frolic about.
                Chee, chee, chee.        45
 
Soon as the little ones chip the shell,
  Six wide mouths are open for food;
Robert of Lincoln bestirs him well,
  Gathering seeds for the hungry brood.
      Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,        50
      Spink, spank, spink;
This new life is likely to be
Hard for a gay young fellow like me.
                Chee, chee, chee.
 
Robert of Lincoln at length is made        55
  Sober with work, and silent with care;
Off is his holiday garment laid,
  Half forgotten that merry air:
      Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;        60
Nobody knows but my mate and I
Where our nest and our nestlings lie.
                Chee, chee, chee.
 
Summer wanes; the children are grown;
  Fun and frolic no more he knows;        65
Robert of Lincoln’s a humdrum crone;
  Off he flies, and we sing as he goes:
      Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
      Spink, spank, spink;
When you can pipe that merry old strain,        70
Robert of Lincoln, come back again.
                Chee, chee, chee.

  1855.
 
 
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