A briery lane, where wild birds sing
All through the summer day;
A beech-tree old, whose branches fling
Long shadows o'er the way.
A nest, built up in the rustling boughs,
Lined soft with moss, so green,
A tiny dwelling — a woodland house,
With leaves for a sheltering screen.
Three delicate eggs, that pearl-like lie
Beneath two brooding wings,
A mate that hovers all watchful by,
Or sits beside, and sings.
A careless boy, with a pitiless heart,
That cares not for lovely things;
A bird, that rises with timid start,
On scared and fluttering wings.
A sorrowful note of plaint and woe
Rings out on the quiet air,
And the pearl-like eggs lie crushed below,
On the beech-roots, old and bare.
And still, in the boughs of the old beech-tree,
'Mid its rustling sprays of green,
The deserted nest, you still may see
Peep out from its verdant screen.
But the bird on its gay and gladsome wing
Returns to the nest no more;
And the mate that would sit on the boughs and sing,
His summer songs are o'er.
And nought can bring from the happy past
When light and love have fled
(Though the walls of the dear old home may last),
But memories of the dead.