Mary Howitt

Birds in Summer

How pleasant the life of a bird must be,

Flitting about in each leafy tree;

In the leafy trees, so broad and tall,

Like a green and beautiful palace hall,

With its airy chambers light and boon,

That open to sun and stars and moon;

That open to 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 sunlit 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!