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With its airy chambers, light and boon,
That open to sun, and stars, and moon;
That open unto the bright blue sky,
And the frolicsome winds as they wander by!


They have left their nests on the forest bough;
Those homes of delight they need not now;
And the young and the old they wander out,
And traverse their green world round about;
And hark! at the top of this leafy hall,
How one to the other in love they call !
“Come up! come up!" they seem to say,
“Where the topmost twigs in the breezes sway.


“Come up! come up! for the world is fair
Where the merry leaves dance in the summer air,"
And the birds below give back the cry,
“We come, we come to the branches high.”
How pleasant the lives of the birds must be,
Living in love in a leafy tree !
And away through the air what joy to go,
And to look on the green, bright earth below!


How pleasant the life of a bird must be,
Skimming about on the breezy sea,
Cresting the billows like silvery foam,
Then wheeling away to its cliff-built home!
What joy it must be to sail, upborne
By a strong, free wing, through the rosy morn!

To meet the young sun face to face,
And pierce like a shaft the boundless space ;

To pass through the bowers of the silver cloud,
To sing in the thunder halls aloud;
To spread out the wings for a wild, free flight
With the upper-cloud winds-oh, what delight!
Oh, what would I give, like a bird, to go
Right on through the arch of the sun-lit bow,
And see how the water-drops are kissed
Into green, and yellow, and amethyst !



How pleasant the life of a bird must be,
Wherever it listeth there to flee;
To go, when a joyful fancy calls,
Dashing adown ’mong the waterfalls;
Then to wheel about with their mates at play,
Above, and below, and among the spray,
Hither and thither, with screams as wild
As the laughing mirth of a rosy child!


What joy it must be, like a living breeze,
To flutter about 'mid the flowering trees;
Lightly to soar, and to see beneath
The wastes of the blossoming purple heath,
And the yellow furze, like fields of gold,
That gladdened some fairy region old !
On the mountain tops, on the billowy sea,
On the leafy stems of the forest tree,
How pleasant the life of a bird must be!


Notes and Questions

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To what are the trees compared

in the first stanza % Where are the airy chambers of

the trees To what are these rooms open? Why are the nests not needed in

summer Read lines in the third stanza

which describe something that

men are now able to do. What kind of birds is described

in the fourth stanza ? What picture of the bird does the

word “Skimming” give you? Have you ever seen birds “Crest

ing the billows''}

What are cliffs ?
Where would you look for

6. cliff-built'' nest? At what time of day may the

sun be called the “young sun’’9 What do we call the "sun-lit

bow''g Read the lines in the fifth stanza

which tell how the colors in the

"sun-lit bow'' are made. By what are the water drops

"kissed''? What color is amethyst? What colors of the rainbow are

not mentioned in this description

Words and Phrases for Study PRONUNCIATION: trăv'-ērse

furze (fürz) piērce (pērs)

thitho-ẽn ăm-b-thỸst (thist)

be-neath' (be-nēth')


air'-y—open to a free current of air. frol'-ic-some-playful; sportive. rē'-gion (jũn)—country; district; a portion of space.


"yellow furze”
"frolicsome winds”
“light and boon
"through the rosy morn"
"upper-cloud wings”
“merry leaves dance'
"homes of delight”
"rosy child

wherever it listeth' “pierce like a shaft” "thunder halls“living breeze"wastes” "boundless space'' “like silver foam" "bower, "billowy sea



William Motherwell (1797-1835), a Scotch poet, was born in Glas gow. He lived and died in that city.

1 I've plucked the berry from the bush, the brown nut from the

tree, But heart of happy little bird ne'er broken was by me. I saw them in their curious nests, close couching, slyly peer With their wild eyes, like glittering beads, to note if harm were

near; I passed them by, and blessed them all; I felt that it was good To leave unmoved the creatures small whose home was in the wood.

2 And here, even now, above my head, a lusty rogue doth sing, He pecks his swelling breast and neck, and trims his little wing. He will not fly; he knows full well, while chirping on that spray, I would not harm him for a world, or interrupt his lay.


Notes and Questions Where do you think this poet What happiness does the poet get lived in his boyhood ?

because of his kindness to the What tells you?

birds Where did he see the nests

Read the lines that another poet To what does he compare the who loved birds has written eyes of the birds

about his love for them: What do you think would break He prayeth well, who loveth the heart of a little bird

well Read the lines which tell why Both man and bird and beast.

the bird is not afraid of the He prayeth best, who loveth best poet.

All things both great and small; How do you think the birds For the dear God who loveth us, know their friends

He made and loveth all."

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Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), an American poet, was a native of Portsmouth, N. H. Her father was a light-house keeper on one of the rocky isles known as the “Isles of Shoals,” off the coast of New Hampshire. She wrote many beautiful poems about wild flowers and birds. She is called the "Poet of the Shoals.'



THE alder by the river

Shakes out her powdery curls;
The willow buds in silver,

For little boys and girls.


The little birds fly over

And 0, how sweet they sing !
To tell the happy children

That once again 'tis spring.

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