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Warbler Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Yellow Warblers by Katharine Lee Bates
  2. The Maryland Yellow-Throat by Henry Van Dyke
  3. The Scituate Bird by Anonymous

  1. Yellow Warblers

    by Katharine Lee Bates

    The first faint dawn was flushing up the skies
    When, dreamland still bewildering mine eyes,
    I looked out to the oak that, winter-long,
    — A winter wild with war and woe and wrong —
    Beyond my casement had been void of song.

    And lo! with golden buds the twigs were set,
    Live buds that warbled like a rivulet
    Beneath a veil of willows. Then I knew
    Those tiny voices, clear as drops of dew,
    Those flying daffodils that fleck the blue,

    Those sparkling visitants from myrtle isles,
    Wee pilgrims of the sun, that measure miles
    Innumerable over land and sea
    With wings of shining inches. Flakes of glee,
    They filled that dark old oak with jubilee,

    Foretelling in delicious roundelays
    Their dainty courtships on the dipping sprays,
    How they should fashion nests, mate helping mate,
    Of milkweed flax and fern-down delicate
    To keep sky-tinted eggs inviolate.

    Listening to those blithe notes, I slipped once more
    From lyric dawn through dreamland's open door,
    And there was God, Eternal Life that sings.
    Eternal joy, brooding all mortal things,
    A nest of stars, beneath untroubled wings.

  2. The Maryland Yellow-Throat

    by Henry Van Dyke

    When May bedecks the naked trees
    With tassels and embroideries,
    And many blue-eyed violets beam
    Along the edges of the stream,
    I hear a voice that seems to say,
    Now near at hand, now far away,
    "Witchery—witchery—witchery."

    An incantation so serene,
    So innocent, befits the scene:
    There's magic in that small bird's note—
    See, there he flits—the Yellow-throat;
    A living sunbeam, tipped with wings,
    A spark of light that shines and sings
    "Witchery—witchery—witchery."

    You prophet with a pleasant name,
    If out of Mary-land you came,
    You know the way that thither goes
    Where Mary's lovely garden grows:
    Fly swiftly back to her, I pray,
    And try, to call her down this way,
    "Witchery—witchery—witchery!"

    Tell her to leave her cockle-shells,
    And all her little silver bells
    That blossom into melody,
    And all her maids less fair than she.
    She does not need these pretty things,
    For everywhere she comes, she brings
    "Witchery—witchery—witchery!"

    The woods are greening overhead,
    And flowers adorn each mossy bed;
    The waters babble as they run—
    One thing is lacking, only one:
    If Mary were but here to-day,
    I would believe your charming lay,
    "Witchery—witchery—witchery!"

    Along the shady road I look—
    Who's coming now across the brook?
    A woodland maid, all robed in white—
    The leaves dance round her with delight,
    The stream laughs out beneath her feet—
    Sing, merry bird, the charm's complete,
    "Witchery—witchery—witchery!"

  3. The Scituate Bird

    by Anonymous. The Maryland Yellowthroat, whose song to many is "witchery, witchery, witchery, witch!" to the author calls the name of the Massachusetts seaside village of Scituate.

    Where is your "Scituate, Scituate, Scituate,"
    Bright little warbler up in the tree?
    I know a Scituate, Scituate, Scituate,
    I know a Scituate hard by the sea,
    New England Scituate, plain little Scituate,
    Dear little Scituate, quaint as can be.

    Is that your "Scituate, Scituate, Scituate,"
    Is that the theme of your whistling song?
    Or some mysterious Scituate, Scituate.
    Far in the land where the fairies belong?
    Other quite misty, impalpable Scituate,
    Whither the fairies and singing birds throng?

    Gold-breasted chanter of "Scituate, Scituate,"
    Whence came the gold? It was surely from there
    Bright-throated lover of "Scituate, Scituate,"
    Warm is the glow of your Scituate fair!
    Vigorous praiser of "Scituate, Scituate,"
    Surely that region surpasses compare!

    Lead me, gay warbler to Scituate, Scituate;
    Close will I follow wherever you fly.
    I would see Scituate, Scituate, Scituate,
    Vocal with carols and bright to the eye;
    Yes, I would live in your Scituate, Scituate,
    Live there and sing there till singing I die.