Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
To the Fringilla Melodia
By Henry Pickering (1781–1838)
          JOY fills the vale,
With joy ecstatic quivers every wing,
As floats thy note upon the genial gale,
          Sweet bird of spring! 1
          The violet        5
Awakens at thy song, and peers from out
Its fragrant nook, as if the season yet
          Remain’d in doubt—
          While from the rock
The columbine its crimson bell suspends,        10
That careless vibrates, as its slender stalk
          The zephyr bends.
          Say! when the blast
Of winter swept our whiten’d plains,—what clime,
What sunnier realm thou charm’dst,—and how was past        15
          Thy joyous time?
          Did the green isles
Detain thee long? or, ’mid the palmy groves
Of the bright south, where liberty now smiles,
          Did’st sing thy loves?        20
          O, well I know
Why thou art here thus soon, and why the bowers
So near the sun have lesser charms than now
          Our land of flowers:
          Thou art return’d        25
On a glad errand,—to rebuild thy nest,
And fan anew the gentle fire that burn’d
          Within thy breast.
          And thy wild strain,
Pour’d on the gale, is love’s transporting voice—        30
That, calling on the plumy choir again,
          Bids them rejoice:
          Nor calls alone
T’ enjoy, but bids improve the fleeting hour—
Bids all that ever heard love’s witching tone,        35
          Or felt his power.
          The poet too
It soft invokes to touch the trembling wire;
Yet ah, how few its sounds shall list, how few
          His song admire!        40
          But thy sweet lay,
Thou darling of the spring! no ear disdains;
Thy sage instructress, nature, says “Be gay!”
          And prompts thy strains.
          O, if I knew        45
Like thee to sing, like thee the heart to fire,—
Youth should enchanted throng, and beauty sue
          To hear my lyre.
          Oft as the year
In gloom is wrapp’d, thy exile I shall mourn—        50
Oft as the spring returns, shall hail sincere
          Thy glad return.
Note 1. The song-sparrow. [back]

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