When softly over field and town,
And over yonder wood-crowned hill,
The twilight drops its curtain down,
'Tis then we hear the whip-po-wil.
From the near shadows sounds a call,
Clear in its accents, loud and shrill,
And from the orchard's willow wall
Comes the faint answer, "Whip-po-wil."
The night creeps on; the summer morn
Whitens the roof and lights the sill;
And still the bird repeats his tune,
His one refrain of "Whip-po-wil."
We hear him not at morn or noon;
Where hides he then so dumb and still?
Where lurks he, waiting for the moon?
Who ever saw a whip-po-wil?
Where plies his mate her household care?
In what veiled nook, secure from ill,
Builds she the tiny cradle, where
Nestles the baby whip-po-wil?
I cannot tell, yet prize the more
The unseen bird, whose wild notes thrill
The evening gloom about my door,—
Still sweetly calling, "Whip-po-wil."
Asleep through all the strong daylight,
While other birds so gayly trill;
Waking to cheer the lonely night,—
We love thee well, O whip-po-wil!