Treasure Island

Mary Botham Howitt

(1799-1888 / England)

The Humming-Bird


The humming-bird! the humming-bird!
So fairy-like and bright:
It lives among the sunny flowers,
A creature of delight!

In the radiant islands of the East,
Where fragrant spices grow,
A thousand, thousand humming-birds
Go glancing to and fro.

Like living fires they flit about,
Scarce larger than a bee,
Among the broad palmetto leaves,
And through the fan-palm tree.

And in those wild and verdant woods,
Where stately mosses tower,
Where hangs from branching tree to tree
The scarlet passion flower;

Where on the mighty river banks,
La Plate and Amazon,
The cayman, like an old tree trunk,
Lies basking in the sun;

There builds her nest the humming-bird,
Within the ancient wood -
Her nest of silky cotton down -
And rears her tiny brood.

She hangs it to a slender twig,
Where waves it light and free,
As the campanero tolls his song,
And rocks the mighty tree.

All crimson is her shining breast,
Like to the red, red rose;
Her wing is the changeful green and blue
That the neck of the peacock shows.

Thou, happy, happy humming-bird,
No winter round thee lours;
Thou never saw'st a leafless tree,
Nor land without sweet flowers.

A reign of summer joyfulness
To thee for life is given;
Thy food, the honey from the flower,
Thy drink, the dew from heaven!

Submitted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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