Littell's Living Age/Volume 135/Issue 1740/The Flight of the Swallows

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Around the old minster the swallows are flying;
Soon into white winter the year will be dying;
Soon, soon the chill winds through the boughs will be sighing,
And ice will be here;
South, south are the summer and happy birds singing,
And sunshine, that only here spring will be bringing,
So,the wise swallows gather in flocks for their winging
To warm climes so dear.

Are they twittering and chattering of bright days departed?
Of dear happy nest-homes from which they have started?
How they wheel, as if exiled, they lingered, sad-hearted,
Their known eaves to leave;
And why should they thus, stay the moment of starting?
Why so seem to loathe from grey skies to be parting?
Think they of the happy hours here they spent, darting
Through many a red eve?

Do birds, like to men, hover round parted pleasure?
Has the past its dear memories, to bird-thoughts a treasure?
Is the gone to you swallows, oh, sweet beyond measure?
Ah, that who shall tell?
Men know not the mysteries that haunt their own being,
And swallows may hide feelings deep from our seeing.
Well, fleet ones, speed far, from the snows to come fleeing;
God guides you. Farewell!

Sunday Magazine.W. C. Bennett