Thursday, May 14, 2009

Quotations on Birds


I heard a Stock-dove sing or say
His homely tale, this very day;
His voice was buried among trees,
Yet to be come at by the breeze:
He did not cease; but cooed—and cooed;
And somewhat pensively he wooed:
He sang of love, with quiet blending,
Slow to begin, and never ending;
-Of serious faith, and inward glee;
That was the song,—the song for me!

a. Wordsworth—0 Nightingale ! Thou

Surely Art.


So the struck eagle, stretched upon the plain,
No more through rolling clouds to soar again,
Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart,
And wing'd the shaft that quivered in his

b. JSfsos—English Sards and Scotch

Reviewers. L. 826.

Tho' he inherit Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,

That the Theban eagle bear, Sailing with supreme dominion

Thro" the azure deep of air,

c. Gray—The Progress of Poesy.

King of the peak and glacier,

King of the cold, white scalps,
He lifts his head at that close tread,

The eagle of the Alps.

d. Victor Hugo—The Swiss Mercenaries.

The bird of Jove, stoop'd from his aery tour, Two birds of gayest plume before him drove.

e. Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. XI.

L. 184.

Bird of the broad and sweeping wing,

Thy home is high in heaven,
Where wide the storms their banners fling,

And the tempest clouds are driven.

/. Percival— To the Eagle.

So, in the Libyan fable it is told
That once an eagle, stricken with a dart.
Said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft,
"Withourown feathers, not by others'hands,
Are we now smitten."
g. Ed. H. Plumpthes—.Eschyliu.

Fragm. 123.

And little eagles wave their wings in gold.
A. Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. to Addison.

L. 30.

But flies an eagle flight, bold and forth on,
Leaving no track behind.

t. Timon of Athens. Act I. So, 1.

L. 49.

I saw Jove's bird, the Roman eagle, wing'd From the spungy south to this part of the

west, .

There vanish'd in the sunbeams.
j. Cymbeline. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 348.

The eagle suffers little birds to sing.
And is not careful what they mean thereby.
k. Titus Andronicus. Act IV. Sc. 4.

L. 83.

Around, around, in ceaseless circles wheeling With clangs of wings and scream, the Eagle

sailed Incessantly.

I. Shelley—Revolt of Islam. Canto I.

St. 10.

He clasps the crag with hooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls:
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls,
m. Tennyson—The Eagle.

Shall eagles not be eagles? wrens be wrens?
If all the world were falcons, what of that?
The wonder of the eagle were the less,
But he not less the eagle,
n. Tennyson— The Golden Year. L. 37.


Prince Edward all in gold, as he great Jove

had been, The Mountfords all in plumes, like estridges

were seen. o. VKAVTon—Poly-Olbion. St. 22.

All furnish'd, all in arms; All plum'd, like estridges that with the wind Baited, like eagles having lately bath'd. p. Henry IV. Pt. I. Act IV. Sc. 1.

L. 97.


The falcon and the dove sit there together, And th' one of them doth prune the other's

feather. q. Drayton—Noah's Flood.

I know a falcon swift and peerless

As e'er was cradled in the pine; No bird had ever eye so fearless,

Or wing so strong as this of mine.

r. Lowell—The Falcon.

Say, will the falcon, stooping from above, Smit with her varying plumage, spare the


Admires the jay the insect's gilded wings? Or hears the hawk when Philomela sings? *. Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. III. L. 53. BIRDS—FA"LCON.


A falcon, tow'ring in her pride of place,
Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd.

a. Macbeth. Act II. Sc. 4. L. 12.

My falcon now is sharp, and passing empty ; And till she stoop, she must not be full-gorg'd, For then she never looks upon her lure.

b. Taming of the Shrew. Act IV. Sc. 1.

L. 193.

So, when a falcon skims the airy way,
Stoops from the clouds, and pounces on his


Daah'd on the earth the feather.'d victim lies, Expands its feeble wings, and, flutt'ring, dies.

c. P. Whitehead— The Gymnasiad.

Bk. III.

Fowl, Wild.

The wildfowl nestled in the brake
And sedges, brooding in their liquid bed.

d. Byeon—Don Juan. Canto XIII.

St. 57.


Two goldfinches, whose sprightly song
Had been their mutual solace long,
Lived happy prisoners there.

e. Cowpeb—Faithful Bird.

A goldfinch there I saw, with gawdy pride
Of painted plumes, that hopped from side to

/. Dryden—The Flower and the Leaf.

L. 106.

I dare not hope to please a Cinna's ear.
Or sing what Varus might vouchsafe to hear ;
Harsh are the sweetest lays that I can bring,
So screams a goose where swans melodious

g. Beattie—Virgil. Pastoral 9.

Shall I, like Curtius, desperate in my zeal, O'er head and ears plunge for the common

weal? Or rob Rome's ancient geese of all their


And cackling save the monarchy of Tories?
A. Pope—Ihmciad. Bk. I. L. 209.

As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russetr-pated choughs, many in sort.
Rising and cawing at the gun's report,
Sever themselves, and madly sweep the sky,
i. Midsummer Night's Dream. Act III.

Sc. 2. L. 20.

Gull, Sea.

Lack-lustre eye, and idle wing,
And smirched breast that skims no more,
White as the foam itself, the wave—
Hast thou not even a grave
Upon the dreary shore,
Forlorn, forsaken thing ?
j. D. M. Mdlock—A Dead Sea-Chill.

And being fed by us you used us so
As that ungentle gull, the cuckoo's bird,
Useth the sparrow.
k. Henry IV. Pt. I. ActV. Sc. I.



The winds are pillow'd on the waveless deep, And from the curtain'd sky the midnight

moon Looks sombred o'er the forest depths, that


Unstirring, while a soft, melodious tune, Nature's own voice, the lapsing stream, is


And ever and anon th'unseen, night-wandering bird. 1. Moik— The Night Hawk.

Between two hawks, which flies the higher

pitch. To. Henry VI. Pt. I. Act II. 8c.4.

L. 11.

Dost thou love hawking? thou hast hawks

will soar

Above the morning lark. n. Taming of the Shrew. Induction. Sc. 2.


I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.

o. Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 395.

No marvel, an it like your majesty,
My lord protector's hawks do tower so well;
They know their master loves to be aloft
And bears his thoughts above his falcon's

p. Henry VI. Pt. II. Act II. Sc. 1.

L. 9.

When I bestride him I soar, I am a hawk. q. Henry V. Act III. Sc. 7. L. 14.

The wild hawk stood with the down on his


And stared with his foot on the prey. r. Tbnnyson— The Poet's Song.


And the humming-bird that hung

Like a jewel up among
The tilted honeysuckle horns

They mesmerized and swung
In the palpitating air,

Drowsed with odors strange and rare, And, with whispered laughter, slipped away

And left him hanging there.

». James Whitcomb Riley—The South

Wind and the Sun, 48




The Jackdaw sat in the Cardinal's chair!
Bishop and Abbot and Prior were there,
Many a monk and many a friar,
Many a knight and many a squire,
With a great many more of lesser degree,—
In sooth a goodly company ;
And they served the Lord Primate on bended

Never, I ween,
Was a prouder seen,

Read of in books or dreamt of in dreams,
Than the Cardinal Lord Archbishop of

Rheims. a. R. H. Barham—Ingold.tby Legends.

The Jackdaw of Rheims.

An old miser kept a tame jackdaw, that used to steal pieces of money, and hide them in a hole, which a cat observing, asked, " Why he would hoard up those round shining things that he could make no use of? " " Why," aaid the jackdaw, "my master has a whole chest- full, and makes no more use of them than I do."

6. Swift—Thoughts on Various Subjects.


What, is the jay more precious than the lark, Because his feathers are more beautiful?

c. Taming of the Shrew. Act IV. Sc. 3.

L. 177.

And startle from his ashen spray,
Across the glen, the screaming jay.

d. War-ton— The Hamlet. Ode 2.


J can tell you what that bird was—a kingfisher, the celebrated halcyon of the ancients about which so many tales are told. It lives on fish which it catches in the manner you saw. It builds in holes in the banks, is a shy retiring bird, never to be seen far from the stream where it inhabits.

e. John Aiken—Eyes and Eyes.

She rears her young on yonder tree;
She leaves her faithful mate to mind 'em;
Like us, for fish she sails to sea,
And, plunging, shows us where to find 'em.
Yo, ho, my hearts! let's seek the deep,
Ply every oar, and cheerly wish her,
While slow the bending net we sweep,
God bless the fish-hawk and the fisher.
/. Alexander Wilson—The Fisherman's


Changed to a lapwing by th' avenging god,
He made the barren waste his lone abode,
And oft on soaring pinions hover'd o'er
The lofty palace then his own no more.
g. Beattie—Virgil. Pastoral 6.

The false lapwynge, full of trecherye.
h. Chaucer—The Parlfment of Fowles.

L. 47.

Amid thy desert-walks the lapwing flies, And tires their echoes with unvaried cries, i. Goldsmith—Deserted Village. L. 44.

For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs Close by the ground, to hear our conference. j. Much Ado About Nothing. Act III.

Sc. 1. L. 25.

The music soars within the little lark,
And the lark soars.
A. E. B. Browning—Aurora Leigh.

Bk. III. L. 155.

Oh, stay, sweet warbling woodlark, stay,
Nor quit for me the trembling spray,
A hapless lover courts thy lay,

Thy soothing, fond complaining.

Thou tells o' never-ending care,
O' speechless grief, and dark despair;
For pity's sake, sweet bird, nae mair!

Or my poor heart is broken!

/. Burns—Address to the Woodlark.

Sts. 1 and 4

The merry lark he soars on high,
No worldly thought o'ertakes him.

He sings aloud to the clear blue sky,
And the daylight that awakes him.
?ii. Hartley Coleridge—Song.

The lark now leaves his wntery nest,
And climbing, shakes his dewy wings.

He takes your window for the East
And to implore your light he sings.
ji. Sir William Davenant—The Lark

now Leaves his Watery Nest.

Musical cherub, soar, singing, away!

Then, when the gloaming comes,

Low in the heather blooms Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be!

Emblem of happiness,

Blest is thy dwelling-place— 0, to abide in the desert with thee!

o. Hogg— The Skylark.

Rise with the lark, and with the lark to bed. p. Hilrdis—TYie Village Curate. L. 276.

None but the lark so shrill and clear;
Now at heaven's gate she claps her wings,
The morn not waking till she sings.
q. Lvly— The Songs of Birds.

And now the herald lark
Left his ground-nest, high tow'ring to descry
The morn's approach, and greet her with his


r. Milton—Paradise Regained. Bk. II.




To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull Night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise.

a. Milton—L'Allegro. L. 41.

The bird that soars on highest wing.
Builds on the ground her lowly nest;

And she that doth most sweetly sing,
Sings in the shade when all things rest:

In lark and nightingale we see

What honor hath humility.

b. Montgomery—Humility.

I said to the sky-poised Lark :

" Hark—hark!

Thy note is more loud and free
Because there lies safe for thee

A little nest on the ground."

c. D. M. Mulock—A Rhyme About Birds.

No more the mounting larks, while Daphne

sings, Shall, list'ning, in mid-air suspend their wings.

d. Pops—Pastoral*. Winter. L. 53.

O earliest singer! 0 care-charming bird !
Married to morning, by a sweeter hymn
Than priest e'er chanted from his cloister dim
At midnight,—or veiled virgin's holier word
At sunrise or the paler evening heard.
" «. Adelaide Procter—The Flood of

Thessaly. O happy skylark springing

Up to the broad, blue sky.
Too fearless in thy winging,
Too gladsome in thy singing,

Thou also soon shall lie
Where no sweet notes are ringing.

/. Christina G. Rossetti—Gone Forever.

St. 2. The sunrise wakes the lark to sing.

g. Christina G. Rossetti—Bird Raptures.

L. 1. Hark ! hark ! the lark at heaven's gate sings,

And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs

On chalic'd flowers that lies.

h. Cymbeline—Act II. Sc. 3. Song.

L. 21.

It is the lark that sings so out of tune, Straining harsh discords and unpleasing

sharps, f. Romeo and Juliet—Act III. Sc. 5.

L. 27.

It was the lark, the herald of the morn. j. Romeo and Jutiet—Act III. Sc. 5.

L. 6.

Lo ! here the gentle lark, weary of rest,
From his moist cabinet mounts up on high.
And wakes the morning, from whose silver


The sun ariseth in his majesty.
k. I'eiiun anil Adimin— L. SSJ.

Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated.
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir

abroad; The nights are wholesome; then no planets

strike, No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to


So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
I. Hamlet—Act 1. Sc. 1. L. 158.

Then my dial goes not true; I took this lark

fora bunting. m. Aid Well That Ends Well—Act II.

Sc. 5. L. 5.

Better than all measures

Of delightful sound, Better than all treasures

That in books are found, Thy skill to poet were, them scorner of the ground!

71. Shelley—To a Skylark,

Sound of vernal showers

On the twinkling grass. Rain-awakened flowers,

All that ever was

Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

o. Shelley— To a Skylark.

Up springs the lark, Shrill-voiced, and loud, the messenger of


Ere yet the shadows fly, he mounted sings Amid the dawning clouds, and from their


Calls up the'tuneful nations.
p. Thomson— The Seasons. Spring.

L. 587.

The lark sung loud ; the music at his heart Had called him early; upward straight he


And bore in nature's quire the merriest part, As to the lake's broad shore my steps I bent. q. Charles Tennyson Turner—Sonnet. An April Day.

The lark that shuns on lofty boughs to build Her humble nest, lies silent in the field. r. Kdhund Waller—Of the Queen.

Ethereal minstrel! pilgrim of the sky!

Dost thou despise the earth where cares


Or, while the wings aspire, are heart and eye Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground? Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will, Those quivering wings composed, that music

still! s. Wordsworth—Poem* of the

Imagination. To a Skylark. BIRDS—LARK.


Leave to the nightingale her shady wood ;
A privacy of glorious light is thine :
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a


Of harmony, with instinct more divine:
Type of the wise who soar, but never roam :
True to the kindred points of Heaven and

a. Wordsworth—Poems of the

Imagination. To a Skylark,


Is it for thee the linnet pours his throat? Loves of his own, and raptures swell the note. 6. Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. III. L. 33.

Perch'd on the cedar's topmost bough,

And gay with gilded wings, Perchance the patron of his vow,

Some artless linnet sings.

c. Shenstone—Vakntitie's Day.

I do but sing because I must,
And pipe but as the linnets sing.

d. Tennyson—In Memoriam. Pt. XXI.

St. 6.

Linnets * * « sit On the dead tree, a dull despondent flock.

e. Thomson—The Seasons. Autumn.

L. 974.

Hail to thee, far above the rest

In joy of voice and pinion !
Thou, linnet! in thy green array,
Presiding spirit here to-day.
Dost lead the revels of the May ;

And this is thy dominion.

/. Wordsworth—The Green Linnet.


The martlet

Builds in the weather on the outward wall, Even in the force and road of casualty. g. Merchant of Venice. Act II. Sc. 9.

L. 28.

This guest of summer.

The temple-haunting martlet, does approve, By his lov'd mansionry, that the heaven's


Smells wooingly here; no jutty, frieze, Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird Hath made its pendent bed, and procreant

cradle: Where they most breed and haunt, I have


The air is delicate.
h. Macbeth. Act I. Sc. 6. L. 3.


Then from the neighboring thicket the mocking-bird, wildest of singers,

Swinging aloft on a willow spray that hung o'er the water,

Shook from his little throat such floods of delirious music,

That the whole air and the woods and the

waves seemed silent to listen, t. Lonofbllow—Evangeline. Pt. II.

St. 2.

Living echo, bird of eve.
Hush thy wailing, cease to grieve;
Pretty warbler, wake the grove
To notes of joy, to songs of love.
j. Thomas Morton—Pretty Mocking-Bird.

Winged mimic of the woods! thou motley fool!
Who shall thy gay buffoonery describe ?
Thine ever-ready notes of ridicule
Pursue thy fellows still with jest and jibe :
Wit, sophist, songster, Yorick of thy tribe
Thou sportive satirist of Nature's school;
To thee the palm of scoffing we ascribe,
Arch-mocker and mad abbot of misrule!
k. Robert Wilde, D.D.—Sonnet. To

the Mocking-Bird.


Hark ! ah, the nightingale—

The tawny-throated!

Hark from that moonlit cedar what a burst!

What triumph ! hark !—what pain !

**** Listen, Eugenia— How thick the bursts come crowding through

the leaves!

Again—thou nearest?
Eternal passion!
Eternal pain!
1. Matthew Arnold—Philomela. L. 32.

For as nightingales do upon glow-worms feed,
So poets live upon the living light.
m. Bailey—Fcstus. Sc. Home.

As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
.Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made,
n. ' Richard Bahnfield—Address to the


It is the hour when from the boughs
The nightingale's high note is heard ;

It is the hour when lovers' vows
Seem sweet in every whisper'd word.
o. Byron—Parisina. St. 1.

" Most musical, most melancholy " bird ! A melancholy bird ! Oh ! idle thought! In nature tliere is nothing melancholy. p. Coleridge—Tlie Nightingale. L. 13.

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