The Rook.

Let the Skylark make her boast1
Of the high and laurelled host2
Who have hailed her Heaven’s Chorister so long ;3
Let the Nightingale repeat4
In her treble, low and sweet,5
The lays that in her honour have been sung ;6
Let each bird in her degree,7
In the Cloud, or on the Tree,8
Have the meed of praiseful song which is her due,9
Her proper tribute, whether10
For her song or for her feather11
But my Rook must have her commendation too.12
Though her voice be somewhat hoarse,13
Yet her language is not coarse,14
As the case is with the parrot and the pye ;15
Though the hue be modest black,16
She wears satin on her back,17
And as fine as any bird that wings in the sky !18
Though her notes are not a score,19
Yet she owns a many more20
Than the Cuckoo, in whose praise all bards agree,21
While their private lives—I guess,22
Mr R. ’twould quite distress23
To name his wife with such a bird as she !24
O to see her pick up sticks25
(Which to her are stone and bricks),26
For the building of her mansion in the Elm !27
O to see her mother-beak28
Far too full of worms to speak29
’Tis a lesson for her sex throughout the realm !30
True it is, at morn and eve,31
When they seek their nests or leave,32
There seems often not a little to be said ;33
But, again, of this we’re certain,34
They’ve no Lectures of the Curtain,35
And they shut their golden beaks when they’re abed !36
Oh, in sooth, I love that clangour37
That, with solemn dreamy languor,38
Floateth o’er the leafless tree-tops in the Spring,39
When, with half-shut dusky pinion,40
In the March wind’s blue dominion,41
The Rook unto the swaying branch doth cling ;42
For its slumbrous music yields43
Visions of familiar fields,44
Dear places whither Memory loves to roam,45
Many a face and many a voice46
That can bid this heart rejoice,47
Though in exile from its friends and from its home.48