The oriole sang in the apple-tree;
The sick girl lay on her bed, and heard
The tremulous note of the glad wild bird;
And, "Ah!" she sighed, "to share with thee
Life's rapture exquisite and strong:
Its hope, its eager energy,
Its fragrance and its song!"
The oriole swayed in the apple-tree,
And he sang: "I will build, with my love, a nest,
Fine as e'er welcomed a birdling guest:
Like a pendent blossom, secure yet free,
It shall hang from the bough above me there,
Bright, bright with the gold that is combed for me
From the sick girl's auburn hair!"
Then he built the nest in the apple-tree;
And, burnished over, a ball of light,
It gleamed and shone in the sick girl's sight,
And she gazed upon it wonderingly:
But when the bird had forever flown,
They brought the nest from the apple-tree
To the bed where she lay alone.
"O builder of this mystery!"—
The wide and wistful eyes grew dim,
And the soul of the sick girl followed him—
"Dear bird! I have had part, through thee,
In the life for which I long and long:
Have shared its hope, its energy,
Its rapture and its song!"