1 OH thou who dwell'st upon the bough,
2 Whose tree does wave its verdant brow,
3 And spreading shades the distant brook,
4 Accept these lines, dear sister rook!
5 And when thou'st read my mournful lay,
6 Extend thy wing and fly away,
7 Lest pinion-maim'd by fiery shot,
8 Thou should'st like me bewail thy lot;
9 Lest in thy rook'ry be renew'd
10 The tragic scene which here I view'd.
11 The day declin'd, the evening breeze
12 Gently rock'd the silent trees,
13 While spreading o'er my people nest,
14 I hush'd my callow young to rest:
15 When suddenly an hostile sound,
16 Explosion dire! was heard around:
17 And level'd by the hand of fate,
18 The angry bullets pierc'd my mate;
19 I saw him fall from spray to spray,
20 Till on the distant ground he lay:[Page 307]
21 With tortur'd wing he beat the plain,
22 And never caw'd to me again.
23 Many a neighbour, many a friend,
24 Deform'd with wounds, invok'd their end:
25 All screaming omen'd notes of woe,
26 'Gainst man our unelenting foe:
27 These eyes beheld my pretty brood,
28 Flutt'ring in their guiltless blood:
29 While trembling on the shatter'd tree,
30 At length the gun invaded me;
31 But wayward fate, severely kind,
32 Refus'd the death I wish'd to find:
33 Oh! farewel pleasure; peace, farewel,
34 And with the gory raven dwell.
35 Was it for this I shun'd retreat,
36 And fix'd near man my social seat!
37 For this destroy'd the insect train
38 That eat unseen the infant grain!
39 For this, with many an honest note,
40 Issuing from my artless throat,
41 I chear'd my lady, list'ning near,
42 Working in her elbow chair!