Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  From “The Paradise of Birds.” I. Birdcatcher’s Song

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

William John Courthope b. 1842

From “The Paradise of Birds.” I. Birdcatcher’s Song

WHEN at close of winter’s night

All the insect world’s a-wing;

When anemones are white;

When the first Lent lilies spring;

When the birds their troths do plight,

And all feather’d lovers sing;

Eggs of golden plovers reach

In London town a shilling each.

Sweet it is to see the gold

Brightening on the cowslip tall;

Sweet to hear on lonely wold

Birds by dawn their lovers call;

Sweet to smell the freshening mould;

But far sweeter than them all,

Flowers, sweet breath, or songs of lovers,

Are shilling eggs of golden plovers.

Bid them pay, and men will buy

For their palate magic taste;

Shift the prices, woman’s eye

Leaves the diamond, likes the paste;

If the market run not high,

Heavenly nectar may go waste;

But each shilling paid discovers

Fresh flavor in the eggs of plovers.