Two birdies sat on a leafy spray,
Pluming themselves for a mid summer's day.
"This day will be long," said the Thrush to the other.
"They are all so, in very warm weather."
"I've half a mind," said Robin Red-Breast,
"To busy myself in building a nest.
When one is working, the days are too short;
The dark comes too quickly, and puts the light out."
Just then there came through the soft summer air,
A mournful "peep, peep;" 'twas a cry of despair.
The birds looked up, and then all around;
And very soon the birdies had found
In the branches high up on the very next tree
A nest; in it were birdlings, one, two, three.
The papa and mamma bird were captured last night
By boys; for their plumage was wondrously bright.
The birdlings were chilled. The Thrush covered the nest
With her own soft downy breast;
While Robin Red-Breast flew to the ground,
Hopping and picking till some worms he had found.
When the birdlings were fed, and had fallen asleep,
The old birds had time to take a good peep.
Not a red-breast was there, not a thrush to be found.
"But," said they, "other birds here abound."
"Oh, see!" said the Thrush, "what beauties they are!
Birdlings of mine were never more fair."
"Quite true," said the Robin, looking into the nest;
"Beauties, indeed, without a red-breast!"
"Over there," said the Thrush, "just within sight
Stands a cottage, where often at night
I've perched on the vines climbing over the porch;
But never have sung my 'don't meddle, don't touch.' "
The Thrush disappeared. Soon then came to Red-Breast
A song full of hope for the birds in the nest.
'Twas the song of the Thrush, of the world and its joys,
Running over for some, but not for the boys.
Could they ever be "happy as happy can be,"
Until they had set their captives free?
There was click of a latch, and a door open flew,
Then out into the sunlight, 'neath the heaven's pale blue,
Flew two gold and black orioles straight to the tree
To find Robin Red-Breast watching their three.