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A Fragment from the "Birds" of
The Hoopoe summons the rest of the birds to a general assembly to hear Peisthetærus expound his plan for building a Bird-City.
PEISTHETÆRUS. How will you call them hither?
I'll go at once to yonder copse, and rouse
My nightingale, and we will summon them.
And when they hear the voices of us twain
They'll run to meet us at their utmost speed.
PEISTHETÆRUS. Dearest of birds, then tarry not
But prithee speed thy quickest to the copse-
Go in and waken up the nightingale.
HOOPOE. Come, partner mine, cease slumbering
And let thy holiest music flow;
The strains that through thy lips divine
Thou pour'st for loss of mine and thine,
Lamenting one to both so dear,
Itys, bewail'd with many a tear,
Pouring from out thy thrilling throat
The liquid and melodious note-
The pure strain speeds through leafy grove
Of yew trees to the seat of Jove,
Where Phoebus with the golden hair,
His lyre, inlaid with ivory fair,
Responsive strikes to plaining love,
And bids the gods in dances move.
Then from immortal lips is sent,
Symphonious with thy murmurs blent,
A burst of heavenly harmony,
The music of the blest on high.
PEISTHETERUS. O royal Jove! how ravishing that bird's note
It bathes the copse with richly honied strain.
EUELPIDES. I say.
PEISTHETÆRUS. What now?
EUELPIDES. Won't you be quiet?
EUELPIDES. The Hoopoe seems about to sing.
HOOPOE. Come away! Come away!
Come away! Come away!
Come hither my comrades of every feather,
Come hither all ye who in flocks fly together;
Come ye who thrive best in the husbandman's fields,
And feast on the grain that his good tillage yields:
Ye myriads of tribes that on barley-corns feed,
And swift-flying races that revel in seed,
Who, fast as ye flit,
A soft warble emit:
who in flocks seek the furrow
And caw with delight as ye burrow,
And soberly plod
O'er each mouldering clod—
With a twit-twit-twitter, I twitter my lay,
Come away from the fields, come away, come away!
Come ye who seek the marshy flats,
Intent to swallow stinging gnats;
Who in moist plashy places feed,
And Marathon's delightful mead-
Come bird of pied and painted wing,
Shy wildfowl, join our gathering;
And tribes that with the halcyons sweep
Along the billows of the deep-
Come hither, come, your courses change
To hear of something new and strange.
For here we gather: to this place
Flock long-neck'd birds of every race.
For there's a certain shrewd old man
Arrived, with many a novel plan;
He deals in notions fresh and new,
And aims at novel actions too.
Then come and talk over the matter together,
Come all of you, come, birds of every feather.
COME, leave the mill, throw down the flail,
And taste our country cheer;
The Autumn's yellow sheaves are stored,
And plenty presses on our board,
We've had a glorious year!-
Away with grief, away with care!
For one glad hour at least we'll share
Life's joyous cup together;
Love shall look on with radiant face,
And friendship join in fond embrace,
Like flowers amid the heather.
A song, a song for Harvest Home—
Strike up, my boys and maids!
We'll make our woodland arches ring,
Like ancient minstrels aye we'll sing
Within the forest glades ;-
But first a thankful hymn of praise,
With hearts and voices too, we'll raise
To all-benignant Heaven-
To Him who crowns the year with good,
Who giveth e'en the ravens food,
To Him all praise be given!
The mountain's base is hid in mist,
There's sunlight up above;
And all the clouds which gird us round,
Shall aye like mountain mists be found,
Or shadows in a grove;
Without the shade, without the sun,-
In vain you strive to keep the one,
And part with its twin-brother!
Thank God for both-for joys and woes-
He knows our griefs, our bliss He knows,
And blends one with the other.
And if pain come some future day,
And come it must and will;
That's not a cause for present grief—
A vain foreboding's no relief-
Let us be happy still!
Come, boy! and broach the cask of ale,
'Tis large, but trust me, we'll not fail
To send it empty back ;-
Don't laugh, my man, if you and I
And twenty stout hearts like us try,
We'll do it in a crack!
And now a dance upon the green,
The old ones can sit by ;—
No nonsense! come, my lads and mate,
What! partners for all girls but Kate!-
Well then I'll even try;
Strike up the fiddle and away!
Strike up-I'm growing young to-day!
The old wife laughs-well, let her!
I doubt if twenty years ago,
When first we married,-more's the woe,— I could have tripp'd it better.
But see the shades of evening fall,
The nights are damp and cold;
Away then where the faggots burn,
And each and all of us by turn,
Shall tell a tale of old;
Of knights who joust beneath the trees,
Of fairies floating on the breeze;
Or else a quaint love-ditty.
And wife, you must not scold or frown,
I'm thinking of a bran-new gown
For my young partner, Kitty.