Jean Ingelow

(17 March 1820 - 20 July 1897 / Boston, Lincolnshire)

Songs Of The Voices Of Birds: The Warbling Of Blackbirds - Poem by Jean Ingelow

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When I hear the waters fretting,
When I see the chestnut letting
All her lovely blossom falter down, I think, “Alas the day!”
Once with magical sweet singing,
Blackbirds set the woodland ringing,
That awakes no more while April hours wear themselves away.

In our hearts fair hope lay smiling,
Sweet as air, and all beguiling;
And there hung a mist of bluebells on the slope and down the dell;
And we talked of joy and splendor
That the years unborn would render,
And the blackbirds helped us with the story, for they knew it well.

Piping, fluting, “Bees are humming,
April’s here, and summer’s coming;
Don’t forget us when you walk, a man with men, in pride and joy;
Think on us in alleys shady,
When you step a graceful lady;
For no fairer day have we to hope for, little girl and boy.

“Laugh and play, O lisping waters,
Lull our downy sons and daughters;
Come, O wind, and rock their leafy cradle in thy wanderings coy;
When they wake we’ll end the measure
With a wild sweet cry of pleasure,
And a ‘Hey down derry, let’s be merry! little girl and boy!’”


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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2012



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