Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Birds
By Charles West Thomson (1798–1879)
 
YE 1 birds that fly through the fields of air,
What lessons of wisdom and truth ye bear!
Ye would teach our souls from earth to rise,
Ye would bid us its grovelling scenes despise—
Ye would tell us that all its pursuits are vain,        5
That pleasure is toil—ambition is pain—
That its bliss is touch’d with a poisoning leaven—
Ye would teach us to fix our aim on heaven.
 
Beautiful birds of the azure wing,
Bright creatures that come with the “voice of Spring,”        10
We see you array’d in the hues of the morn,
Yet ye dream not of pride, and ye wist not of scorn.
Though rainbow splendor around you glows,
Ye vaunt not the beauty which nature bestows—
Oh! what a lesson for glory are ye—        15
How ye preach of the grace of humility!
 
Swift birds that skim o’er the stormy deep,
Who steadily onward your journey keep,
Who neither for rest nor slumber stay,
But press still forward by night and day—        20
And in your unwearying course yet fly
Beneath the clear and the clouded sky,
O! may we, without delay, like you,
The path of duty and right pursue.
 
Sweet birds that breathe the spirit of song,        25
And surround heaven’s gate in melodious throng,
Who rise with the earliest beams of day,
Your morning tribute of thanks to pay—
You remind us that we alike should raise
The voice of devotion and song of praise.        30
There ’s something about you that points on high,
Ye beautiful tenants of earth and sky!
 
Note 1. Thomson is of Philadelphia. The pieces which follow are from the Atlantic Souvenir. [back]
 
 
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