Birds and Poets

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Author: John Burroughs
Published: 1877
Language: English
Wordcount: 61,220 / 180 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 85.8
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 645
mnybks.net#: 1413
Origin: gutenberg.org
Genre: Poetry
Excerpt

s, complain,
Musing on falsehood, violence, and wrong,

And sighing for thy motley coat again.

Aside from this sonnet, the mockingbird has got into poetical literature, so far as I know, in only one notable instance, and that in the page of a poet where we would least expect to find him,--a bard who habitually bends his ear only to the musical surge and rhythmus of total nature, and is as little wont to turn aside for any special beauties or points as the most austere of the ancient masters. I refer to Walt Whitman's "Out of the cradle endlessly rocking," in which the mockingbird plays a part. The poet's treatment of the bird is entirely ideal and eminently characteristic. That is to say, it is altogether poetical and not at all ornithological; yet it contains a rendering or free
translation of a bird-song--the nocturne of the mockingbird, singing and calling through the night for its lost mate--that I consider quite unmatched in our literature:--

Once, Paumanok,
Wh

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