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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

NESTLINGS, by                    
First Line: O little bird! Sing sweet among the leaves
Last Line: Sing thou for task accomplished. Sing, heart, sing!)
Subject(s): Birds

O LITTLE bird! sing sweet among the leaves,
Safe hid from sight, beside thy downy nest;
The rain falls, murmuring to the drooping eaves
A low refrain, that suits thy music best.
Sing sweet, O bird! thy recompense draws nigh, --
Four callow nestlings 'neath the mother's wing.
So many flashing wings that by and by
Will cleave the sunny air. Oh, sing, bird, sing!

(Sing, O my heart! Thy callow nestlings sleep,
Safe hidden 'neath a gracious folding wing,
Until the time when from their slumbers deep
They wake, and soar in beauty. Sing, heart, sing!)

O little bird, sing sweet! Though rain may fall,
And though thy callow brood thy care require,
Behind the rain-cloud, with its trailing pall,
Shineth, undimmed, the gracious, golden fire.
Sing on, O bird! nor of the cloud take heed;
For thou art heritor of glorious spring;
And every field is sacred to thy need --
The wealth, the beauty thine. Oh, sing, bird, sing!

(Sing, O my heart! sing on, though rain may pour;
Sing on, for unawares the winds will bring
A drift of sunshine to thy cottage door,
And arch the clouds with rainbows. Sing, heart, sing!)

O bird! sing sweet. What though the time be near
When thou shalt sit upon the swaying bough,
With no sweet mate, no nestling by, to hear
The bubbling song thou sing'st to glad them now!
Thy task was done, fulfilled in sweet spring days --
In golden summer, when thy brood take wing,
Shalt thou not still have left a hymn of praise
Because thy work is over? Sing, bird, sing!

(Sing, O my heart! What if thy birds have flown?
Thou hadst the joy of their awakening,
A thousand memories left thee for thine own;
Sing thou for task accomplished. Sing, heart, sing!)

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