SPARE THE SWALLOWS a Poem
SPARE THE SWALLOWS
"The milliners now demand the breasts and wings of swallows for decorating ladies' hats. To supply the call thousands of these birds are killed by agents of the millinery taxidermists. The birds that nest under the eaves or fly in at the diamondshaped swallow-hole ought not to be sacrificed to this new whim of woman. Spare the swallows."—Forest and Stream, Sept. 13.
SPARE these little children of the happy air,
The blue-wing'd, sharp-beak'd, harmless swallows spare!
When the pink petals of the peach unfold,
When the shy violets blossom in the mould,
When buttercups display their urns of gold,
Aud birds enchant the air with songs of spring,
And vines in woods their verdant garlands fling,—
Then hearts and homes are throbbing with delight
As the spring swallows gather in their flight,
Rehearsing their sweet carols as they fly;
Now sweeping low, anon careering high,
Swift as a pointed arrow from the bow,
At every rosy dawn, at sunset's glow.
Around the old barn gables, moss'd and gray,
They circle swift in wild, ecstatic play;
The insect pests that hover in the breeze,
Whose larvoe taint the grain, the budding trees,
These nimble guardians of the air assail,
And save the ripening harvests of the vale.
Where sweeps th' unruffled lake its sheet of blue,
The restless swallows their forays pursue,
They skim its azure plain, they skirt the pool,
They dip (he wing, the beak in eddies cool;
Nor leave the keen pursuit of insect prey
Till fades the glimmering twilight of the day.
And where the river-borders, slant and steep,
O'erhang the currents flowing dim and deep,
The blithe bank-swallows build their airy home,
The crumbling sands their storehouse and their dome.
And here in myriads from each hermit cave
They dart forth into space, they skim the wave.
But when the autumn glory of the woods
Fades in its pomp thro' all the solitudes,
Then like a whirling cloud they take their flight
Fur brighter climes, and vanish from the sight.
Ah, pity 'tis these plenteous wing'd guests,
Thtit please our hearts and rid life of its pests,
That charm the blithesome air with chirpings sweet,
And fill with merry sound each calm retreat,
Should die that Youth should win another grace
To nod above the witchery of her face !
Ah! she forgets that to enhance her bloom,
A swett bird dies to yield its purple plume.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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