In Scotland's realm, forlorn and bare,
The history chanced of late—
The history of a wedded pair,
A chafiinch and his mate.
The spring drew near, each felt a breast
With genial instinct filled;
They paired, and would have built a nest,
But found not where to build.
The heaths uncovered, and the moors,
Except with snow and sleet,
Sea beaten rocks and naked shores,
Could yield them no retreat.
Long time a breeding-place they sought,
Till both grew vexed and tired;
At length a ship arriving brought
The good so long desired.
A ship! could such a restless thing
Afford them place of rest?
Or was the merchant charged to bring
The homeless birds a nest?
Hush;—silent readers profit most&mdash
This racer of the sea
Proved kinder to them than the coast,&mdash
It served them with a tree.
But such a tree! 'twas shaven deal,
The tree they call a mast;
And had a hollow with a wheel,
Through which the tackle passed.
Within that cavity, aloft,
Their roofless home they fixed;
Formed with materials neat and soft,
Bents, wool, and feathers mixed.
Four ivory eggs soon pave its floor,
With russet specks bedight:
The vessel weighs, forsakes the shore,
And lessens to the sight.
The mother-bird is gone to sea
As she had changed her kind;
But goes the male? Far wiser, he
Is doubtless left behind.
No:—soon as from ashore he saw
The winged mansion move,
He flew to reach it, by a law
Of never-failing love;
Then perching at his consort's side,
Was briskly borne along;
The billows and the blasts defied,
And cheered her with a song.
The seaman, with sincere delight,
His feathered shipmate eyes,
Scarce less exulting in the sight
Than when he tows a prize.
For seamen much believe in signs,
And, from a chance so new,
Each some approaching good divines;
And may his hopes be true!