Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 List of Illustrations
 Bob, the story of our mocking-...
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Title: Bob, the story of our mocking-bird
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086059/00001
 Material Information
Title: Bob, the story of our mocking-bird
Physical Description: 64 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881
Lanier, Charles Day, 1868-
Dugmore, A. Radclyffe ( Arthur Radclyffe ), 1870-1955 ( Illustrator )
Charles Scribner's Sons ( Publisher )
Merrymount Press ( Printer )
Publisher: Scribner
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1899
Subject: Birds -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Mockingbirds -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1899   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre: Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Statement of Responsibility: With sixteen illustrations in color.
General Note: Preface by Charles Day Lanier.
General Note: Illustrated by A.R. Dugmore, printed at the Merrymount Press, Boston.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086059
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001583206
oclc - 00364390
notis - AHK7142

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Half Title 1
        Half Title 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
        Preface 1
        Preface 2
        Preface 3
        Preface 4
    List of Illustrations
        List of Illustrations 1
        List of Illustrations 2
    Bob, the story of our mocking-bird
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 4a
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 8a
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 10a
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 14a
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 28a
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 30a
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 32a
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 34a
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 38a
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 40a
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 42a
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 44a
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 50a
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 52a
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 56a
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 58a
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
    Back Matter
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text



The Baldwin Library

II~L-~L __ ._ II ~r I

The Story of Our Mocking-Bird

44 ",

t~ ~c

Sidney Lanier. With Six-
teen Illustrations in Color

Charles Scribner's Sons
New York, Mdcccxcix

Copyright, 1883, hy The Independent
Copyright, 1899, hy Mary Day Lanier

Prefatory Note

HE poet Sidney Lanier loved to swing in
full-muscled walks through the fields and
woods; to take the biggest how and quiver
out of the archery implements provided for
himself and his brood of hoys, and with them trail-
ing at his heels, to tramp and shoot at rovers; to he-
stride a springy horse and ride through the mountains
and the valleys, noting what they were pleased to
show of tree and third and east life. He could feel
the honest savage instinea of the hunter (and lose it
in his first sight of a stag's death-eyes). A rare
third's nest with eggs produced in him the rapture
vouchsafed to barbarian Boy, along with the divine
suggestions vouchsafed to the Poet. This may he
worth while to say to those of Lanier's readers who
may think of him as a sensitive, delicate man of
letters, and who must see in most of his writing
evidences of extreme sensibility. It was this habit of
a pralical, face-to-face conversation with nature
which, joined with the artist's instinct, makes the

sketch of "Boh" so veracious a picture of a bird-indi-
vidual and a bird-species. Lanier's wife and chil-
dren remember well the delight the bird had for his
brother artist; how the amused fute would trill with
extravagant graces to the silent but heedful wonder
of the caged one. Every surprising token of intelli-
gence, of affe&ion, of valor displayed by Bob was
hailed by Mr. Lanier with a hoy's ecstacy over a
pet, and a poet's thankfulness of a beautiful work
of the Creator.
There is, doubtless, no need to assure the reader
that the events of Bob's life as hereinafter depicted
are historically true; he was acquired hy one of the
poet's boys, who, forbidden to rob nests, remembers
his fear, on the way home with Bob in his straw hat,
that the account of the bird's helpless condition would
not serve as a fair and reasonable excuse for keep-
ing him as a pet.
The illustrations which form so important a part
of the effort to make a picture of Boh, are unusual
in their origin and in their method. Mr. Dugmore
made photographic studies of a young mocking-bird,

or, rather, of a number of young mocking-hirds, the
photographs were colored hy him, and the plates
from these photographs were printed in color. The
variety of rare tints in any bird's plumage, their
extreme delicacy, and the infinitely fine gradations
of shading have almost always haffled the artist
and the printer. The present attempt to reproduce
Mr. Dugmore's masterly piClures in color shows at
least a handsome advance in the difficult art.
Charles Day Lanier.

Oftoher, 1899.

List of Illustrations
From Photographs made from Life
and colored hy A. R. Dugmore

"Boh lying in a lump" To face page 4
"To increase the volume of his rudimentary
feathers" 8
"Throw his head back and open his yellow-
lined heak" 10
"He scrambled to the hars of the cage which
his feeble companion was unable to do" 14
"For it was his own image in the looking-
glass of a bureau" 28
"His hath" 30
"When he smoothed his feathers" 32
"And as many times slid down the smooth
surface of the mirror and wounded himself
upon the perilous pin-cushion" 34
"The most elegant, trim little dandy" 38
"A sidelong, inquiring posture of the head,
. Is she gone?" 40

"He eats very often" 42
"Boh never negleas to wipe his heak after
each meal" 44
"He stretches his hody until he seems incredi-
bly tall" 50
"When he is cold he makes himself into a
round hall offeathers" 52
"When his feathers fall. He is then unspeak-
ably dejected. every feather dropped
from his tail" 56
"We have only to set Boh's cage where a spot
of sunshine will fall on it. up goes his
heak, and he is of" 58


The Mocking-Bird
Superb and sole, upon a plumed spray
That o'er the general leafage boldly grew,
He summ'd the woods in song; or typic drew
The watch of hungry hawks, the lone dismay
Of languid doves when long their lovers stray,
And all birds' passion-plays that sprinkle dew
At morn in brake or bosky avenue.
Whatever birds did or dreamed, this bird could say.
Then down he shot, bounced airily along
The sward, twitched in a grasshopper, made song
Midjtight, perched, prinked, and to his art again.
Sweet Science, this large riddle read me plain:
How may the death of that dull inset he
The life of yon trim Shakspere on the tree?


'.OT that his
:name ought
to be Bob at all.
In respect of his behavior
during a certain tryingpe-
riod which I am presently
to recount, he ought to be
called Sir Philip Sidney:
yet, by virtue of his con-
dud in another very trou-

[ I ]

1111_111~ -~ ~ ~ I_---~--~

_~~. I~ri~L~l~i~ ~ ~

( 1 //In most/ all, tfe i//i-
nite flood of the sunlight
which is so rich and cor-
dial that it will make even
a man lift his head towards
the sky, as a mocking-bird
lifs his beak, and try to
sing something or other.
About three years ago, in
a sandy road which skirts
a grove of such tall pines,
a wayfarerfound Bob ly-
ing in a lump. It could not

4 ]

lhave been more than a Jfew
days since he was no bird
at all, onl11 an egg witlh
pIossibililies. The jinder
brought hin to our fence
and turned him over lo a
young man who had done
us /te honor /o come olut (
a Strange Country and live
al outhouse aboul sir Syears
before. Gladly received by
ihis /las/, Bob wi'as brought
within, and f ily discuts-

[ S I


sions were held. He could
not be put back into a tree:
the hawks would have had
him in an hour. The origi-
nal nest was not to be found.
We struggled hard against
committing the crime- as
we had always considered
it-of caging a bird. But
finally it became plain that
there was no other resource.
Infad, we were obliged to
recognize that he had come


to usjr'om the hand of Pro-
vidence, and, though we
are among the most steady-
going democrats of this
Republic, we were yet suf-
fciently acquainted with
the etiquette of courts to
know that one does not re-
fuse the gft of the King.
Dimly hoping, therefore,
that we might see our way
clear to devise some means
ofgiving Bob an education


[ 7 1

_ ~

... ... -_-_ __ - _.- -.. _. __ ,
0 hOB / od i hnforafbr-
ester, we arranged suitable
accommodations for him,
and he was tended with
motherly care.
He repaid our attentions
from the very beginning.
He immediately began to
pick up in fesh and to in-
crease the volume ofhis ru-
dimentary feathers. Soon
he commenced to call for
hisfood as lustily as any

[ 8 ]

~ I

[ 9 1


spoiled child. I hen if uwas
brought, he would throw
his head back and open
his yellow-lined beak to a
width which no one would
credit who did not see it.
Into this enormous cavity,
which seemedalmost larger
than the bird, his protec-
tress would thrust-and
the more vigorously the bet-
ter he seemed to like it -
ball after ball of the yolk

(~hard-boiled egg mashed
up with Irish potato.
How, from this dry com-
pound which was his only
fare except an occasional
worm off the rose-bushes,
Bob could have wrought
the surprising nobleness of
spirit which he displayed
about six weeks after he
came to us ... is a matter
which I do not believe the
most expansive application

[_ 1 I

of Mr. Herbert Spencer's
theory of the genesis of
emotion could even remote-
ly account for. I refer to
the occasion when hefairly
earned the title ofSirPhilip
Sidney. A short time after
he became our guest a cou-
ple of other fledgelings
were brought and placed
in his cage. One of these
soon died, but the other con-
tinuedfor some time longer

II ]

--- OR


[ I ]

~r~-~i~ I~-~ ~--- ---.---

to drag out a drooping ex-
istence. One day, when Bob
was about six weeks old,
his usual ration had been
delayed, owing to the pres-
sure ofother duties upon his
attendant. He was not slow
to make this circumstance
known by all the language
available to him. He was
very hungry indeed and
was squealing with every
appearance ofentreaty and

of indignation when at last OB
the lady of the house was
able to bring him his break-
fast. He scrambled to the
bars of the cage--which
his feeble companion was
unable to do-took theprof-
fered ball of egg-and-po-
tato fercely in his beak, and
then, instead ofswallowing
it, deliberatelyflappedback
to his sick guest in the cor-
ner and gave him the whole

[ 13 ]

__ _I~


efil wit/houl lasting a nior-
Now when Sir Philip Sid-
ney was being carried off
the battle-field ofZutphen
with a fearful wound in
his thigh, he became very
thirsty and begged for wa-
ter. As the cup was handed
him, a dying soldier who
lay near cast upon it a look
ofgreat longing. This Sid-
ney observed: refusing the

'4 1

cup, he ordered that it
should be handed to the
soldier, saying, 'His ne-
cessity is greater than

'5 ]


S0 Mocking bird
is called Bob
S --. just as a goat
is called Billy or Nan, as
a parrot is called Poll, as
a squirrel is called Bunny,
or as a cat is called Pussy
or Tom. In spite of the
suggestionsforced upon us
by the similarity of his be-
havior to that of the sweet
young gentleman of Zut-
phen, our bird continued

6 ]

L~llii~i~i~i~i~-D~~ --~-~-~

to bear the common appel-
lation of his race and no
efforts on the part of those
who believe in the fitness
of things have availed to
change the habits of Bob's
friends in this particular.
Bob he was, is, and will
probably remain.
Perhaps under a weight-
ier title he would not have
thriven so prosperously.
His growth was amazing

[ '7 ]


[ 18 ]

in body and in mind. By
the time he was two months
old he clearly showed that
he was going to be a singer.
About this period certain
littlefeeble trills and ex-
perimental whistles began
to vary the monotony ofhis
absurd squeals and chir-
rups. The musical busi-
ness, and the marvellous
work offeathering him-
self, occupied his thoughts


continuall]i. I cannot but -
suppose that he sullerin-
tended the disposition of
the black, while and grain (
IaI kings on his 'ings a nd
his lail as they succes-
sivelij appeared: hle cer-
ainla/d/ man/11 tuiTed t/lhe
pigments with which those
colors were laid on, soIcme-
Wihere within himself; -
and all out of egg-alnd-
potato. How he ever got

19 ]

:the idea f arranging his
Feather characteristics ex-
actly as those of all other
male mocking-birds are
arranged-is more than I
know. It is equally beyond
me to conceive why he did
not-while he was about
it-exert his individuality
to the extent of some little
peculiar black dot or white
stripe whereby he could at
least tell himselffrom any

-0 i

other bird. His failure to
attend to this last matter
was afterwards the cause
ofa great battlefrom which
Bob would have emerged
in a plight as ludicrous as
any of Don Quixote's,-
considering the harmless
and unsubstantial nature
of his antagonist-had not
this view of his behavior
been changed by the cour-
age and spirit with which

21 ]

^O0 ? he engaged his enemy, the
gallantry with which he
continued thefight, and the
good faithful blood which
he shed while it lasted. In
all these particulars his
battle fairly rivalled any
encounter of the much-
bruised Knight ofla Man-
He was about a year old
when it happened, and
the fight took place a long

[ 22 1

~~~~ __ _~I~_CC~

wayjfom his native heath.
He was spending the sum-
mer at a pleasant country
home in Pennsylvania. He
had appeared to take just
as much delight in the
clover fields and mansion-
studded hills of this lovely
region as in the lonesome
forests and sandy levels of
his native land. He had
sung, and sung: even in his
dreams at night his sensi-

[ 23 1

tive little soul would often
get quite too full and he
would pour forth raptur-
ous bursts of sentiment at
any time between twelve
o'clock and daybreak. If
our health had been as
little troubled by broken
slumber as was his, these
melodies in the late night
would have been glorious;
but there were some of us
who had gone into the coun-

[ 24 ]

l________r~__ll_~____r__l_~~_~__r~l~__( ~ ~II _I


by especially to sleep; and
we werefinally driven to
swing the sturdy songster
high up in our outsideporch
at night, by an apparatus
contrived with careful re-
ference to cats. Several
of these animals in the
neighborhood had longed
unspeakably for Bob ever
since his arrival. We had
seen them eyeing him from
behind bushes and through

[ 25 1



Windows, and had once-
rescued himfrom one who
had thrust a paw between
the very bars of his cage.
That cat was going to eat
him, art and all, with no
compunction in the world.
His music seemed to make
no more impression on cats
than Keats's made on crit-
ics. If only some really
discriminating person had
been by with a shot-gun

[ 26 ]

when The Quartlerly thrust '
its paw into poor Endym-
ion's cage!
One day at this country-
house Bob had been let out
of his cage and allowed
tojy about the room. He
had cut many antics, to
the amusement of the com-
pany, when presently we
left him, to go down to din-
ner. What occurred after-
ward was very plainly told

27 ]


o0 by circumstantial evidence
when we returned. As soon
as he was alone, he had
availed himself of his un-
usualfreedom togo explor-
ing about the room. In the
course of his investigation
he suddenly found himself
confronted by it is
impossible to say what he
considered it. If he had
been reared in the woods
he would probably have re-

[ 28

garded it as another mock-
ing-bird, -for it was his
own image in the looking-
glass of a bureau. But he
had never seen any member
of his race except the for-
lorn little unfledged speci-
men which he had fed at six
weeks of age, and which
bore no resemblance to this
tall, gallant, bright-eyed
figure in the mirror. He
had thus had no opportu-

[ 29 ]

-0 2

~ ~I__ ~_C___~~ ________~r____r_____I__ICil_~____~_l

~ ~c~

nity to geneer'aliZe his kindd,
and he knew nothing what-
ever of his own personal
appearance except thepar-
tial hints he may have
gained when he smoothed
his feathers with his beak
after his bath in the morn-
ing. It may therefore very
well be that he took this
sudden apparitionfor some
Chimera or dire monster
which had taken advan-

[ 30 ]


. ;. o . e.




-s~z -----


Sage of Jle ,family's tempo-
rary absence to enter the
room, with evil purpose.
Bob immediately deter-
mined to defend the prem-
ises. He few at the invader,
literally beak and claw.
But beak and claw taking
no hold upon the smooth
glass, with each attack he
slid struggling down to the
foot of the mirror. Now it
so happened that a pin-

[ 3' 1

cushion lay at this point,
which bristled not only
with pins but with needles
which had been tempora-
rily left in it and which
were nearly as sharp at the
eye-ends as at the points.
Upon these Bob's poor
claws came down with
fury: he felt the wounds
and saw the blood: both he
attributed to the strokes of
his enemy, and this roused

[ 32 ]

fT .i1, 11

,y ^'

Shll/li lo /ie/' ingc. In order j ,
to give additional momen-
tum to his onset he would
retire towards the other
side of the room and thence
fly at the foe. Again and
again he charged: and as
many times slid down the
smooth surface of the mir-
ror and wounded himself
upon theperilous pin-cush-
ion. As I entered, being
first upfrom table, he was

[ 33 ]


*... 0
7.. 01?

[ 34 1

in the at of fluttering
down against the glass.
The counterpane on the
bed, the white dimity cover
ofthe bureau, the pin-cush-
ion, all bore the bloody re-
semblances of his feet in
variousplaces, and showed
how many times he had
sought distantpoints in or-
der to give himself a run-
ning start. His heart was
beating violently, and his

Jfeathers were ludicrouslyI :9 OB
tousled. And all against
the mere shadow of him-
self! Never was there such
a temptation for the head
ofafamily to assemble his
people and draw a prodi-
gious moral. But better
thoughts came:for, after
all, was it not probable
that the poor bird was de-
fending-or at any rate
believed he was defending

[ 35 ]

~~_1_______1________~ ~_1______11~_~_r___~^_~_

-the rights and proper-
ties of his absent masters
against afoe of unknown
power? All the circum-
stances go to show that he
made the attack with a
faithful valor as reverent
as that which steadied
the lance of Don Quixote
against the windmills. In
after days, when his cage
has been placed among the
boughs of the trees, he has

[ 36 1



not shown any warlike
feelings against the robins
and sparrows that passed
about, but only friendly
At this present writing,
Bob is the most elegant,
trim, ele&ric, persuasive,
cunning, tender, coura-
geous, artistic little dandy
ofa bird that mind can im-
agine. He does not confne
himself to imitating the

S37 3

g~j~ ~II


[ ,38 ]

songs of his tribe. He is a
creative artist. I was wit-
ness not long ago to the se-
letion and adoption by him
of a rudimentary whistle-
language. During an ill-
ness itfell to my lot to sleep
in a room alone with Bob.
In the early morning, when
a lady -to whom Bob is
passionately attached -
would make her appear-
ance in the room, he would


~ ~

salute her with a certain 0 o
joyful chirrup which ap-
pears to belong to him pe-
culiarly. I have not heard
it from any other bird. But
sometimes the lady would
merely open the door, make
an inquiry, and then re-
tire. It was now necessary
for his artistic soul tofind
some form of expressing
grief For this purpose he
selected a certain cry al-

[ 39 ]

most idenlical with that
ofthe cow-bird-an inde-
scribably plaintive, long-
drawn, thin whistle. Day
after day I heard him
make use of these expres-
sions. He had never done
so before. The mournful
one he would usually ac-
company, as soon as the
door was shut, with a side-
long inquiring posture of
the head, which was a

[ 40 1


clear rel e iionl oJ' the /lo- ,- 0
her's Is she gone? Is she
really gone?

[ 41- ]

HERE is one
piarliclJar in which
S Bob's habits cannot
be recommended. He eats
very often. Infa if Bob
should hire a cook, it would
be absolutely necessaryfor
him to write down his
hours for her guidance;
and this writing would look
very much like a time-table
of the Pennsylvania, or
the Hudson River, or the

[ 4 1

~I_~ 1__

Old Colony, Railroad. He
would have to say: c Brid-
get will be kind enough
to get me my breakfast at
the following hours: 5,
J530, 5-4o, 6, 6.z5,
6.30, 6.45, 7, 7.20,
740-, 8 (and so on, every
fifteen or twenty minutes,
until 12 M.); my dinner
at 12, 12.20, 12.40, I,
I.I5, 1.30 (and so on
every fifteen or twenty

[ 43 1


_I__~~1~~ ~_C

miliutes IInil 6 p.m..; m11y
supper is irregular, but I
wish Bridget particularly
to remember that I always
eat whenever I awake in
the night, and that I usu-
ally awake four or five
times between bedtime and
daybreak." With all this
eating, Bob never neglebts
to wipe his beak after
each meal. This he does by
drawing it quickly, three

[ 44 ]



-~? : .-:~g
TI -r i- I

orfbur limes on each side,
against his perch.
I never tire of watching
his motions. There does not
seem to be the least friBtion
between any of the com-
ponent parts of his sys-
tem. They all work, give,
play in and out, stretch,
contract, and serve his
desires generally with a
smoothness and soft pre-
cision truly admirable.

[ 45 1


~ _I~ ~i~ ~ ~~


AMerely to see him leapl
from his perch to the foor
of his cage is to me a never-
failing marvel. It is so
instantaneous, and yet so
quiet: clip, and he is down,
with his head in the food-
cup: I can compare it
to nothing but the stroke
of Fate. It is perhaps a
strained association of the
large with the small: but
when he suddenly leaps

[ 46 ]

I~ _~1~~ 1_~____111_~_~_1~11_~__~i~_~(~^~C--~ 1~_1_~ ~_I --I~

down in this instantaneous
way, I always feel as i,
while looking down upon
the three large Forms of
the antique Sculpture, ly-
ing in severepostures along
the ground, I suddenly
heard the cli/ of the fatal
His repertory of songs is
extensive. Perhaps it would
have been much more so
if his life had been in the

<... ... Or

47 1

~ _,___.___ ~II__~______ __~ I_ ~~_~~___ __~~_~____II~

I woods 'herehe would have
had the opportunity to hear
the endlessly-various calls
of his race. So far as we
can see, the stock of songs
which he now sings must
have been brought in his
own mindfrom the egg, or
from some further source
whereof we know nothing.
SHe certainly never learned
these calls: many of the
birds of whom he givesper-

!L J

Sfed imitationshave been al-
ways beyond his reach. He
does not apprehend readily
a new set oftones. He has
caught two or three musical
phrasesfrom having them
whistled near him. No sys-
tematic attempt, however,
has been made to teach
him anything. His proce-
dure in learning thesefew
tones was peculiar. He
would not, on first hearing

S e hem, make any sign that
he desired to retain them,
beyond a certain air ofat-
tention in his posture. Up-
on repetition on a difer-
ent day, his behavior was
the same: there was no
attempt at imitation. But
sometime afterward, quite
unexpectedly, in the hila-
rious flow of his birdsongs
would appear a perfeU re-
prodution of the whistled

[E o ]





tones. Like a great artist
he was rather above futile
and amateurish eforts.He
took things into his mind,
turned them over, and,
when he was perfedly sure
ofthem, brought themforth
with perfection and with
He has his little joke. His
favorite response to the en-
dearing terms of the lady
whom he loves is to scold

[ 5 1




[ 5 1

her. Of course he under-
stands that she under-
stands his wit. He uses
for this purpose the angry
warning cry which mock-
ing-birds are in the habit
ofemploying to drive away
intruders from their nests.
At the same time he ex-
presses his delight by a
peculiar gesture which he
always uses when pleased.
He extends his right wing

~_ 1_~11~ ~____ I~-~-_I_1I___I_1I_1I_~II_ _XI_


and stretches his leg along
the inner surface of it as
far as he is able.
He has great capacities in
the way ofelongating and
contra ting himself When
he is curious, or alarmed,
he stretches his body until
he seems incredibly tall and
ofthe size ofhis neck all the
way. When he is cold, he
makes himselfinto a round
ball of feathers.

[ 53 ]



[ 54 1

THINK I envy
him most when he
Goes to sleep. He
takes up one leg somewhere
into his bosom, crooks the
other a trifle, shortens his
neck, closes his eyes,--and
it is done. He does not ap-
pear to hover a moment
in the borderland between
sleeping and waking but
hops over the line with the
same superb decision with

~ ~ I~F~ ~ II _I~

which he drops from his
perch to the foor. I do not
think he ever has anything
on his mind after he closes
his eyes. It is my belief that
he never committed a sin of
any sort in his whole life.
There is but one time when
he ever looks sad. This is
during the season when
his feathers fall. He is
then unspeakably dejeJted.
Never a note do we get

[ 55 ]

.--.-.. ~~lmllX___._II_~~~-~_11~_1~.~---. 111_1 __1_111111~---~-1------l__l.____



. OB

[ 56 ]

-ron0 him uniil / is over.
Nor can he be blamed.Last
summer not only the usual
loss took place, but every
feather dropped from his
tail. His deje3ion during
this period was so extreme
that we could not but be-
lieve he had some idea of
his personal appearance
under the disadvantage of
no tail. This was so ludi-
crous that his most ardent

1 ~_1_____~_1_____1~_~0~__DI_~

I~I~ _11__11_1_^~________~_~__llllll__pll_~l_


lovers could scarcelyc be-
hold him without a smile;
and it appeared to cut him
to the soul that he should
excite such sentiments.
But in a surprisingly short
time his tail-feathers grew
out again, the rest of his
apparel reappeared fresh
and new, and he lifted up
his head: insomuch that
whenever we wish to fll
the house with a gay, con-

[ 57 1


i 58 1

fident, dashing, riotous,
innocent, sparkling glory
of jubilation, we have only
to set Bob's cage where a
spot of sunshine will fall
on it. His beads of eyes
glisten, hisform grows in-
tense, up goes his beak, and
he is of.
Finally we have sometimes
discussed the question: is
it better on the whole, that
Bob should have lived in

~llr________glY_~~_ ~-





a cage than in the wild- O B
wood? There are conflit-
ing opinions about it: but
one of us is clear that it is.
He argues that although
there are many songs which
are never heard, as there
are many eggs which never
hatch, yet the general end
of a song is to be heard,
as that of an egg is to be
hatched. Hefurther argues
that Bob's life in his cage

[ 59 1

has been one long blessing
to several people who stood
in need of him: whereas
in the woods, leaving aside
the probability of hawks
and bad boys, he would
not have been likely to gain
one appreciative listener for
a single half-hour out of
each year. And, as I have
already mercifully released
you from several morals
(continues this disputant)

[ 60

I .l 'h ich I migi Ih / ai l e di a u l'n
from Bob, I am resolved
that no power on earth shall
prevent mefrom drawing
thisfinal one. We have
heard much of "theprivi-
leges of genius," of "the
right of the artist to live
out his own existence free
from the conventionalities
of society," of "the un-
morality of art," and the
like. But I do protest that

[ 6I ]



[ 62

the greater the artist, and
the more profound his pity
toward the fellow- man
for whom he passionately
works, the readier will be
his willingness to forego
the privileges of genius
and to cage himself in the
conventionalities, even as
the mocking-bird is caged.
His struggle against these
will, I admit, be the great-
est: he willfeel the bitterest

_ ~I _1_1 lr~__ll~y__~___~__~

~I I~I_

sense of their uselessness
in restraining him from
wrong-doing. But, never-
theless, one consideration
will drive him to enter the
door and get contentedly on
his erchis fellow-men,
his fellow-men. These he
can reach through the re-
speiable bars of use and
wont; in his wild thickets
of lawlessness they would
never hear him, or, hear-

2L) 1B OR

[ 63 ]


D~ ~

. O'

[ 64 ]

ing, would never listen. In
truth this is the sublimest
of self-denials, and none
but a very great artist can
compass it: to abandon
the sweet green forest of
liberty, and live a whole
life behind needless con-
straints,for the more per-
fet service of his fellow-

1~___1____~___1___ ~1~~_ __1_1_____1__~~___1__1_11_ ~~

--~---~ ------~


To Our Mocking-Bird
Died of a Cat, May, 1878
Trillets of humor,--shrewdest whistle-wit,-
Contralto cadences of grave desire
Such as from of the passionate Indian pyre
Drift down through sandal-odored flames that split
About the slim young widow who doth sit
And sing above, -midnights of tone entire,--
Tissues of moonlight shot with songs offire;-
Bright drops of tune, from oceans in;nite
Of melody, sipped off the thin-edged wave
And trickling down the beak,-discourses brave
Of serious matter that no man may guess,-
Good-fellow greetings, cries of light distress-
All these hut now within the house we heard:
0 Death, wast thou too deaf to hear the bird?

Ah me, though never an ear for song, thou hast
A tireless tooth for songsters: thus of late
Thou camest, Death, thou Cat! and leap'st my gate,
And, long ere Love could follow, thou hadst passed
Within and snatched away, how fast, how fast,
My hird- wit, songs, and all- thy richestfreight
Since that fell time when in some wink offate
Thy yellow claws unsheathed and stretched, and cast
Sharp hold on Keats, and dragged him slow away,
And harried him with hope and horrid play-
Ay, him, the world's best wood-hird, wise with
Till thou hadst wrought thine own last mortal
'Twas wrong! 'twas wrong! I care not,
wrong's the word-
To munch our Keats and crunch our mocking-

Nay, Bird; my grief gainsays the Lord's best right.
The Lord was fain, at some late festal time,
That Keats should set all Heaven's woods in
And thou in bird-notes. Lo, this tearful night,
Methinks I see thee, fresh from death's despite,
Perched in a palm-grove, wild with pantomime,
O'er blissful companies couched in shady thyme,
-Methinks I hear thy silver whistlings bright
Mix with the mighty discourse of the wise,
Till broad Beethoven, deaf no more, and Keats,
'Midst of much talk, uplift their smiling eyes,
And mark the music of thy wood-conceits,
And halfway pause on some large, courteous word,
And call thee "Brother," 0 thou heavenly Bird!

Baltimore, 1878.

D. B. Updike
The Merrymount Press
104 Chestnut Street

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