Robin on the tilting bough,
Red-breast rover, tell me how
You the weary time have passed
Since we saw and heard you last.
“In a green and pleasant land,
By a summer sea-breeze fanned,
Orange-trees with fruit are bent;
There the weary time I’ve spent.”
Robin rover, there, no doubt,
Your best music you poured out;
Piping to a stranger’s ear,
You forgot your lovers here.
“Little lady, on my word,
You do wrong a true-heart bird!
Not one ditty would I sing,
‘Mong the leaves or on the wing,
In the sun or in the rain;
Stranger’s ear would list in vain.
If I ever tried a note,
Something rose within my throat.
‘Twas because my heart was true
To the North and spring-time new;
My mind’s eye a nest could see
In yon old, forked apple-tree!”