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ELCOME, pure thoughts, welcome, ye silent groves—

These guests, these courts, my soul most dearly loves : Now the wing'd people of the sky shall sing My cheerful anthems to the gladsome spring.

Sie HENRY WOTTON, 1568–1639.



As when of many sorts the long-neck'd fowl

Unto the large and flowing plain repair,
Through which Cayster's waters gently roll,

In multitudes—high flying in the air,
Now here, now there fly, priding on their wing,

And by-and-by at once light on the ground,
And with their clamor make the air to ring,

And th' earth whereon they settle to resound;

So when the Achaians went up from the fleet,

And on their march were to the towers of Troy,
The earth resounded loud with hoofs and feet.

But on Scamander's flowery bank they stray,
In number like the flowers of the field,

Or leaves in spring, or multitude of flies
In some great dairy, round the vessels filled,
Delighted with the milk, dance, fall, and rise.

Translated by II01E3.



Attic maiden-honey-fed

Chirping warbler, bear’st away
Thou the chirping grasshopper,
To thy callow young a prey

Warbling thou-a warbler seize,

Winged-one with lovely wings!
Guest thyself—by summer brought-

Fellow-guest, whom summer brings !
Will not quickly let it drop ?

'Tis not fair-indeed, 'tis wrong,
That the ceaseless songster should
Die by mouth of ceaseless song !

Trunslution of G. TREVOR.



Attic maiden, breathing still

Of the fragrant flowers that blow
On Hymettus' purple hill,

Whence the streams of honey flow.
Wherefore thus a captive bear
To your nest the grasshopper ?

Noisy prattler, cease to do

To your fellow-prattler wrong;
Kind should not its kind pursue-

Least of all the heirs of song.
Prattler, seek some otlier food
For your noisy, prattling brood.

Both are ever on the wing,

Wanderers both in foreign bowers;
Both succeed the parting spring,

Both depart with summer hours.
Those who love the minstrel lay
Should not on each other prey.

Translation of G. MERIVALE.




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Sung by the Children, passing from Door to Door, at the Return of the Swallor.

The swallow is come!

The swallow is come!
He brings us the season of vernal delight,
With his back all of sable, and belly of white.

Have you nothing to spare,
That his palate would please-
A fig, or a pear,
Or a slice of rich cheese ?
Mark, he bars all delay :
At a word, my friend, say,
Is it yes, is it nay?
Do we go? do we stay?
One gift, and we're gone :
Refuse, and anon,
On your gate and your door
All our fury we pour ;
Or our strength shall be tried
On your sweet little bride;
From her seat we will tear her,
From her home we will bear her ;
She is light, and will ask
But small hands for the task.
Let your bounty then lift
A small aid to our mirth,
And whate'er the gift,
Let its size speak its worth.
The swallow, the swallow,
Upon you doth wait;
An alms-man and suppliant,
He stands at your gate;
Let him in then, I say,

For no gray-beards are we,
To be foiled in our glee;

But boys who will have our own way.



Hal. While we have been conversing, the May-flies, which were in such quantities, have become much fewer; and I believe the reason is. that they have been greatly diminished by the flocks of swallows which everywhere pursue them. I have seen a single swallow take four, in less than a quarter of a minute, that were descending to the water.

Translation of MITCHELL

Poict. I delight in this living landscape! The swallow is one of my favorite birds, and a rival of the nightingale; for he cheers my sense of seeing as much as the other does my sense of hearing. He is the glad prophet of the year-the harbinger of the best season: he lives a life of enjoyment among the loveliest forms of Nature. Winter is unknown to him; and he leaves the green meadows of England, in autumn, for the myrtle and orange groves of Italy, and for the palms of Africa. He has always objects of pursuit, and his success is secure. Even the beings selected for his prey are poetical, beautiful, and transient. The ephemeræ are saved by his means from a slow and lingering death in the evening, and killed in a moment, when they have known nothing of life but pleasure. He is the constant destroyer of insects-the friend of man; and, with the stork and ibis, may be regarded as a sacred bird. This instinct, which gives him his appointed seasons, and teaches him always when and where to move, may be regarded as flowing from a Divine Source; and he belongs to the Oracles of Nature, which speak the awful and intelligible language of a present Deity.




When Phoebus lifts his head out of the winter's wave,
No sooner doth the earth her flowery bosom brave;
At such time as the year brings on the pleasant spring,
But hunts-up to the morn the feather'd sylvans sing;
And in the lower grove, as on the rising knole,

Upon the highest spray of every mounting pole

Those choristers are perch'd, with many a speckled breast;
Then from her burnish'd gate the goodly glittering East

Gilds every lofty top, which late the humorous night
Bespangled had with pearl, to please the morning's sight;
On which the mirthful choirs, with their clear, open throats,
Unto the joyful morn so strain their warbling notes,
That hills and valleys ring, and even the echoing air
Seems all composed of sounds about them everywhere.


Good-morrow to thy sable beak,
And glossy plumage, dark and sleek-
Thy crimson moon and azure eye--
Cock of the heath, so wildly shy!
I see thee slowly cowering through
That wiry web of silver dew,
That twinkles in the morning air,
Like casement of my lady fair.

A maid there is in yonder tower,
Who, peeping from her early bower,
Half shows, like thee, with simple wile,
Her braided hair and morning smile.
The rarest things, with wayward will,
Beneath the covert hide them still;
The rarest things, to light of day
Look shortly forth, and break away.

One fleeting moment of delight

I warmed me in her cheering sight,
And short, I ween,
the time will be
That I shall parley hold with thee.
Through Snowdon's mist red beams the day;
The climbing herd-boy chants his lay;
The gnat-flies dance their sunny ring;
Thou art already on the wing.



Wing'd mimic of the woods! thou motley fool,
Who shall thy gay buffoonery describe?
Thine ever-ready notes of ridicule

Pursue thy fellows still with jest and gibe:
Wit, sophist, songster, Yorick of thy tribe,

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