Menella Bute Smedley

The Rooks' Petition

“Bear with us! Your garden shows
Many a snug and comely nest;
But the very leaf we chose
Is for us the only best;
And you would not wish a change
In the music of our words,

If you knew how harsh and strange
Seems your talk to all the birds!
“We are happy where we please,
Not where you would have us dwell;
We've our choice among the trees,—
You, your own pet oriel.
If you hunt us while we sue,
You are strong, and we despair;
But one thing you cannot do,
Make us feel at home elsewhere.
“Rulers to their cost have found,
Hearts of men are much like ours;
Laws that grow not from the ground
Often die like gather'd flowers.
Rule and measure as they may,
They will find at last perhaps,

God makes pictures every day
Which are better things than maps.
“But we wander from our text,—
We are most discursive birds,
And your eyes, although perplex'd,
Seem to soften at our words.
Yes, they soften, they forgive
Even a constancy misplaced;
Granting humblest things that live
Whim and fancy, wish and taste!”

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