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THE RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET

I

WHERE 'S your kingdom, little king?

Where's the land you call your own,

Where's your palace, and your throne ? Fluttering lightly on the wing

Through the blossom-world of May,
Whither lies your royal way?
Where's the realm that owns your sway,

Little king?

Far to northward lies a land,
Where the trees together stand
Closer than the blades of wheat,
When the summer is complete.
Like a robe the forests hide
Lonely vale and mountain side:
Balsam, hemlock, spruce and pine,
All those mighty trees are mine.
There's a river flowing free;
All its waves belong to me.
There's a lake so clear and bright
Stars shine out of it all night,

And the rowan-berries red
Round it like a girdle spread.
Feasting plentiful and fine,
Air that cheers the heart like wine,
Royal pleasures by the score,
Wait for me in Labrador
There I'll build my dainty nest;
There I'll fix my court and rest;
There from dawn to dark I'll sing :
Happy kingdom! Lucky king!

II

Back again, my little king !

Is your happy kingdom lost

To that rebel knave, Jack Frost?
Have you felt the snow-flakes sting?

Autumn is a rude disrober:
Houseless, homeless in October,
Whither now? Your plight is sober,

Exiled king!

Far to southward lie the regions
Where my loyal flower-legions

Hold possession of the year,
Filling every month with cheer.
Christmas wakes the winter rose;
New Year daffodils unclose;
Yellow jasmine through the woods
Runs in March with golden floods,
Dropping from the tallest trees
Shining streams that never freeze.
Thither I must find my way.
Fly by night and feed by day,
Till I see the southern moon
Glistening on the broad lagoon,
Where the cypress' vivid green,
And the dark magnolia's sheen,
Weave a shelter round my home.
There the snow-storms never come :
There the bannered mosses gray
In the breezes gently sway,
Hanging low on every side
Round the covert where I hide.
There I hold my winter court,
Full of merriment and sport:
There I take my ease and sing :
Happy kingdom! Lucky king!

Little boaster, vagrant king!

Neither north nor south is yours :

You've no kingdom that endures.
Wandering every fall and spring,

With your painted crown so slender,
And your talk of royal splendour
Must I call you a Pretender,

Landless king ?

Never king by right divine
Ruled a richer realm than mine!
What are lands and golden crowns,
Armies, fortresses and towns,
Jewels, scepters, robes and rings, -
What are these to song and wings?
Everywhere that I can fly,
There I own the earth and sky;
Everywhere that I can sing,
There I'm happy as a king.

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