Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THREE SEVERAL BIRDS, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY



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THREE SEVERAL BIRDS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The romancer's a nightingale
Last Line: And only dreams for him!)
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Birds; Books; Nightingales; Poetry & Poets; Singing & Singers; Reading


I

THE ROMANCER

THE Romancer's a nightingale, --
The moon wanes dewy-dim
And all the stars grow faint and pale
In listening to him. --
To him the plot least plausible
Is of the most avail, --
He simply masters it because
He takes it by the tale.

O he's a nightingale, --
His theme will never fail --
It gains applause of all -- because
He takes it by the tale!

The Romancer's a nightingale: --
His is the sweetest note --
The sweetest, woe-begonest wail
Poured out of mortal throat:

So, glad or sad, he ever draws
Our best godspeed and hail;
He highest lifts his theme -- because
He takes it by the tale.

O he's a nightingale, --
His theme will never fail --
It gains applause of all -- because
He takes it by the tale!

II

THE POET

The bobolink he sings a single song,
Right along, --
And the robin sings another, all his own --
One alone;
And the whippoorwill, and bluebird,
And the cockadoodle-doo-bird; --
But the mocking-bird he sings in every tone
Ever known,
Or chirrup-note of merriment or moan.

So the Poet he's the mocking-bird of men, --
He steals his songs and sings them o'er again;
And yet beyond believing
They're the sweeter for his thieving. --
So we'll howl for Mister Mocking-bird
And have him out again!

It's mighty fond we are of bobolinks,
And chewinks;
And we dote on dinky robins, quite a few --
Yes, we do;
And we love the dove, and bluebird,
And the cockadoodle-doo-bird, --
But the mocking-bird's the bird for me and you,
Through and through,
Since he sings as everybody wants him to.

Ho! the Poet he's the mocking-bird of men, --
He steals his songs and sings them o'er again;
And yet beyond believing
They're the sweeter for his thieving. --
So we'll howl for Mister Mocking-bird
And have him out again!

III

BOOKMAN'S CATCH

The Bookman he's a humming-bird --
His feasts are honey-fine, --
(With hi! hilloo!
And clover-dew
And roses lush and rare!)
His roses are the phrase and word
Of olden tomes divine;
(With hi! and ho!
And pinks ablow
And posies everywhere!)
The Bookman he's a humming-bird, --
He steals from song to song --
He scents the ripest-blooming rhyme,
And takes his heart along
And sacks all sweets of bursting verse
And ballads, throng on throng.
(With ho! and hey!
And brook and brae,
And brinks of shade and shine!)
A humming-bird the Bookman is --
Though cumbrous, gray and grim, --
(With hi! hilloo!
And honey-dew
And odors musty-rare!)
He bends him o'er that page of his
As o'er the rose's rim
(With hi! and ho!
And pinks aglow
And roses everywhere!)
Ay, he's the featest humming-bird, --
On airiest of wings
He poises pendent o'er the poem
That blossoms as it sings --
God friend him as he dips his beak
In such delicious things!
(With ho! and hey!
And world away
And only dreams for him!)





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