Left border: birds and flowers      THE LARK'S NEST.


ONCE was a meadow, where in the June weather
Daisies and buttercups blossomed together.
There came a field-lark and built her a nest,--
Five speckled eggs she hid under her breast;
Sitting alone, while afar and above her
Rang the sweet song of her mate and true lover;
While the brown bees all about her were humming,
And the gay butterflies going and coming,
Dear little mother-lark never grew weary,
Never once found herself lonesome or dreary.
Five baby-larks to be had for the hatching!
That, she thought, paid for her waiting and watching.

When, by and by, came a creeping and cheeping,
That told the young things from the egg-shells were peeping,--
" Oh ! " cried the mother-bird, chirping, caressing,
" What have I done to deserve such a blessing
Perfect in form, and delightful in features,
Who could have dreamed of such exquisite creatures ? "
Day after day, in a rapture of pleasure,
She fluttered and fidgeted over her treasure;
Cuddled them, sang to them, morning and noon,
Told all the sweet things that happen in June--
How the red roses, and larkspur, and clover,
Dressed in their jewels would sparkle all over;
How, by and by,--and the lark gave a sigh,--
All those poor blossoms would wither and die.
But before snow came, or wintry wild weather,
They would spread wing and fly south all together.

Once, with a tale on the tip of her tongue,
Poor little mother-lark left it unsung;
Over her frightened head, gleaming and ringing,
Came a long scythe, through the meadow-grass swinging.
Dear little lark, all a-tremble for breath,
Covered her babies, and waited for death.
But it flashed over her; then to the crisis
Bravely she rose, with her ready devices;
Wasted no time in complaint or repining,
But plucked the dry grasses, and twisting and twining,
Wove her a roof to arch over her nest,
Nor stopped for a moment to idle or rest.
Weaving it, one of the mowing-men found her,
While the scythes glistened and whistled around her.
Then he declared that on her and her brood,
Danger nor terror again should intrude.
So all the day, through the coming and going,
Mother-lark sat undisturbed by the mowing;
And long before winter, or stormy wild weather,
All the young larks had gone flying together.

St. Nicholas 2 (November 1874): 35



SOME little sparrows on a tree
Were chattering together:
Said one of them, " It seems to me
We' ll soon have falling weather;
I would n't feel the least surprise
If I should hear it thunder."
"Well, you 're extremely weather-wise,"
An old one said; " I wonder
Where you were hatched, and when, my dear,
To talk of that, this time of year!

" It's much more likely, let me say,
Although it's to my sorrow,
That you will see it snow to-day--
At all events to-morrow."
He hopped off to another twig,
When he had thus admonished
His neighbors not so wise and big,
And left them quite astonished.
" What does he mean ? and what is snow ?
They asked each other: '"Do you know?"

And not a single one could tell;
So after lots of chatter,
They all concluded, very well,
T was no such mighty matter.
But in the night-time came the snow,
According to his warning;
And oh ! what flying to and fro
And twittering, next morning !
" How cold it is ! " they chirped--" 0 dear !
How disagreeable and queer ! "

The old one swelled with self-conceit;
" I told you so," he muttered.
" Now see what you will find to eat "--
And off again he fluttered.
The little sparrows, in despair,
They looked at one another--
" Oh! where is all the seed, and where
The bugs and worms, my brother ?
To die of hunger, that's a fate
One shudders but to contemplate."

Now, in the house behind the tree,
There was a little maiden,
Who laughed out merrily to see
The branches all snow-laden.
She broke her bread up, crumb by crumb,
Along the sill so narrow,

And called, "Dear little birdies, come!
Here's some for ev'ry sparrow.
I'll feed you, darlings, every day,
Because you never fly away.

Birds on snowy branch

" The blue-bird and the bobolink,
They 're birds of gayer feather,
But not so nice as you, I think,
That stay in winter weather.
So hop along the window-sill,
There 's food enough for twenty;
Come every day and eat your fill,
You'll always find a-plenty."
And after that, come frost or snow,
Be sure the birds knew where to go!

St. Nicholas 2 (March 1875): 285

On to "Benita" (another poem)

Scanned for 19th-Century Girls' Series webpage. Please do not use on other pages without permission.