Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  The Bluebird

Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Bluebird

By Maurice Thompson (1844–1901)

[From Songs of Fair Weather. 1883.]

WHEN ice is thawed and snow is gone,

And racy sweetness floods the trees;

When snow-birds from the hedge have flown,

And on the hive-porch swarm the bees,

Drifting down the first warm wind

That thrills the earliest days of spring,

The bluebird seeks our maple groves,

And charms them into tasselling.

He sits among the delicate sprays,

With mists of splendor round him drawn,

And through the spring’s prophetic veil

Sees summer’s rich fulfilment dawn:

He sings, and his is nature’s voice—

A gush of melody sincere

From that great fount of harmony

Which thaws and runs when spring is here.

Short is his song, but strangely sweet

To ears aweary of the low,

Dull tramp of Winter’s sullen feet,

Sandalled in ice and muffed in snow:

Short is his song, but through it runs

A hint of dithyrambs yet to be—

A sweet suggestiveness that has

The influence of prophecy.

From childhood I have nursed a faith

In bluebirds’ songs and winds of spring:

They tell me, after frost and death

There comes a time of blossoming;

And after snow and cutting sleet,

The cold, stern mood of Nature yields

To tender warmth, when bare pink feet

Of children press her greening fields.

Sing strong and clear, O bluebird dear!

While all the land with splendor fills,

While maples gladden in the vales

And plum-trees blossom on the hills:

Float down the wind on shining wings,

And do thy will by grove and stream,

While through my life spring’s freshness runs

Like music through a poet’s dream.