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Poor Robin sits and sings alone,
When showers of driving sleet,
By the cold winds of winter blown,
The cottage casement beat.
- William Lisle Bowles
The wood-robin sings at my door,
And her song is the sweetest I hear
From all the sweet birds that incessantly pour
Their notes through the noon of the year.
- James Freeman Clarke
The redbreast oft, at evening hours,
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
With hoary moss, and gathered flowers,
To deck the ground where thou art laid.
- William Collins, Odes--Dirge in Cymbeline
Bearing His cross, while Christ passed forth forlorn,
His God-like forehead by the mock crown torn,
A little bird took from that crown one thorn.
To soothe the dear Redeemer's throbbing head,
That bird did what she could; His blood, 'tis said,
Down dropping, dyed her tender bosom red.
Since then no wanton boy disturbs her nest;
Weasel nor wild cat will her young molest;
All sacred deem the bird of ruddy breast.
The Redbreast--A Breton Legend,
in "English Lyrics"
Poor robin, driven in by rain-storms wild
To lie submissive under household hands
With beating heart that no love understands,
And scared eye, like a child
Who only knows that he is all alone
And summer's gone.
- Dinah Maria Mulock (used pseudonym Mrs. Craik)
On fair Britannia's isle, bright bird,
A legend strange is told of thee,--
'Tis said thy blithesome song was hushed
While Christ toiled up Mount Calvary,
Bowed 'neath the sins of all mankind;
And humbled to the very dust
By the vile cross, while viler men
Mocked with a crown of thorns the Just.
Pierced by our sorrows, and weighed down
By our transgressions,--faint and weak,
Crushed by an angry Judge's frown,
And agonies no word can speak,--
'Twas then, dear bird, the legend says
That thou, from out His crown, didst tear
The thorns, to lighten the distress
And ease the pain that he must bear,
While pendant from thy tiny beak
The gory points thy bosom pressed,
And crimsoned with thy Saviour's blood
The sober brownness of thy breast!
Since which proud hour for thee and thine.
As an especial sign of grace
God pours like sacramental wine
Red signs of favor o'er thy race!
- Delle W. Norton, To the Robin Redbreast
Marry, by these special marks: first, you have learned, like Sir Proteus, to wreathe your arms like a malcontent, to relish a love-song like a robin-redbreast, to walk alone like one that had the pestilence, to sigh like a schoolboy that had lost his A B C, to weep like a young wench that had buried her grandam, to fast like one that takes diet, to watch like one that fears robbing, to speak puling like a beggar at Hallowmas.
- William Shakespeare,
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
(Speed at II, i)
The Redbreast, sacred to the household gods,
Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky,
In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted Man
His annual visit.
- James Thomson (1), Seasons--Winter
Call for the robin-red-breast, and the wren,
Since o'er shady groves they hover,
And with leaves and flowers do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men.
- John Webster,
The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona--A Dirge
Now when the primrose makes a splendid show,
And lilies face the March-winds in full blow,
And humbler growths as moved with one desire
Put on, to welcome spring, their best attire,
Poor Robin is yet flowerless; but how gay
With his red stalks upon this sunny day!
- William Wordsworth, Poor Robin
Art thou the bird whom Man loves best,
The pious bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin;
The bird that comes about our doors
When autumn winds are sobbing?
- William Wordsworth,
The Redbreast Chasing the Butterfly
Stay, little cheerful Robin! stay,
And at my easement sing,
Though it should prove a farewell lay
And this our parting spring.
. . . .
Then, little Bird, this boon confer,
Come, and my requiem sing,
Nor fail to be the harbinger
Of everlasting spring.
- William Wordsworth,
To a Redbreast--In Sickness
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