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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Robert Seymour Bridges 1844–1930

Asian Birds


IN this May-month, by grace

of heaven, things shoot apace.

The waiting multitude

of fair boughs in the wood,—

How few days have array’d

their beauty in green shade!

What have I seen or heard?

it was the yellow bird

Sang in the tree: he flew

a flame against the blue;

Upward he flash’d. Again,

hark! ’t is his heavenly strain,

Another! Hush! Behold,

many, like boats of gold,

From waving branch to branch

their airy bodies launch.

What music is like this,

where each note is a kiss?

The golden willows lift

their boughs the sun to sift:

Their silken streamers screen

the sky with veils of green,

To make a cage of song,

where feather’d lovers throng.

How the delicious notes

come bubbling from their throats!

Full and sweet, how they are shed

like round pearls from a thread!

The motions of their flight

are wishes of delight.

Hearing their song, I trace

the secret of their grace.

Ah, could I this fair time

so fashion into rhyme,

The poem that I sing

would be the voice of spring.