EARLY on a pleasant day 

In the poet's month of May, 

Field and forest looked so fair, 

So refreshing was the air, 

That, in spite of morning dew, 

Forth I walked where tangling grew 

Many a thorn and breezy bush; 

When the redbreast and the thrush 

Gaily raised their early lay, 

Thankful for returning day. 

Every thicket, bush, and tree 

Swelled the grateful harmony; 

As it mildly swept along, 

Echo seemed to catch the song: 

But the plain was wide and clear 

Echo never whispered near. 

From a neighboring mocking-bird 

Came the answering notes I heard. 

Soft and low the song began: 

I scarcely caught it as it ran 

Through the melancholy trill 

Of the plaintive whippoorwill, 

Through the ringdove's gentle wail —

Chattering jay and whistling quail, 

Sparrow's twitter, catbird's cry, 

Redbird's whistle, robin's sigh; 

Blackbird, bluebird, swallow, lark, 

Each his native note might mark. 

Oft he tried the lesson o'er, 

Each time louder than before. 

Burst at length the finished song; 

Loud and clear it poured along; 

All the choir in silence heard. 

Hushed before this wondrous bird, 

All transported and amazed, 

Scarcely breathing, long I gazed. 

Now it reached the loudest swell; 

Lower, lower, now it fell, 

Lower, lower, lower still; 

Scarce it sounded o'er the rill. 

Now the warbler ceased to sing; 

Then he spread his russet wing, 

And I saw him take his flight 

Other regions to delight. 

J. R. Drake.