Early each spring the little wren
Came scolding to his nest of moss;
We knew him by his peevish cry,
He always sung so very cross.
His quiet little mate would lay
Her eggs in peace, and think all day.
He was a sturdy little wren;
And when he came in spring, we knew,
Or seemed to know, the flowers would grow
To please him, where they always grew,
Among the rushes, cheerfully;
But not a rush so straight as he!
All summer long that little wren
Would chatter like a saucy thing;
And in the bush attack the thrush
That on the hawthorn perched to sing.
Like many noisy little men,
Lived, bragged, and fought that little wren.
There was a thoughtful maid, and I,
We used to play along the shore,
Searching for shells, and culling flowers,
As at the threshold of life's door,
Through which we had to pass, we stood,
Twin types of childish hardihood.
Year after year we gathered flowers,
And grew apace, as children do;
And each returning spring we marked
The little wrens, they never grew;
One over-quiet and sedate,
The other, a bird-reprobate.
But now the marsh is overflowed,
The rushes rot beneath the sand;
No spring brings back the little wrens,
No children loiter hand in hand;
The maiden rose-bud, pure and good,
Grown to the flower of womanhood.