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Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Poetry of Nature's Songs

“The moon looks upon many night flowers; the night flowers see but one moon.” – Jean Ingelow

Born on this date in 1820, Ingelow was an English poet and novelist.   She started writing (and being published) as a teenager, but didn’t achieve fame for her work until publication of Poems in 1863.  The book ran through numerous editions and many of the poems were set to popular music.            Her best-selling children’s book Mopsa The Fairy is included in A Critical History of Children’s Literature.  Her poems "When Sparrows build in Supper at the Mill" and “The Warbling of Blackbirds” were among the most popular songs of the day.    Here for Saturday’s Poem, is Ingelow’s,

                     Songs of the Voices of Birds: 
                     The Warbling of Blackbirds

                        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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