My little bird, how canst thou sit
And sing amidst so many thorns?
Let me a hold upon thee get,
My love with honour thee adorns.
Thou art at present little worth,
Five farthings none will give for thee,
But pr’ythee, little bird, come forth,
Thou of more value art to me.
’Tis true it is sunshine to-day,
To-morrow birds will have a storm;
My pretty one come thou away,
My bosom then shall keep thee warm.
Thou subject are to cold o’nights,
When darkness is thy covering;
At days thy danger’s great by kites,
How can’st thou then sit there and sing?
Thy food is scarce and scanty too,
’Tis worms and trash which thou dost eat;
Thy present state I pity do,
Come, I’ll provide thee better meat.
I’ll feed thee with white bread and milk,
And sugar plums, if them thou crave.
I’ll cover thee with finest silk,
That from the cold I may thee save.
My father’s palace shall be thine,
Yea, in it thou shalt sit and sing;
My little bird, if thou’lt be mine,
The whole year round shall be thy spring.
I’ll teach thee all the notes at court,
Unthought-of music thou shalt play;
And all that thither do resort,
Shall praise thee for it every day.
I’ll keep thee safe from cat and cur,
No manner o’ harm shall come to thee;
Yea, I will be thy succourer,
My bosom shall thy cabin be.
But lo, behold, the bird is gone;
These charmings would not make her yield;
The child’s left at the bush alone,
The bird flies yonder o’er the field.
This child of Christ an emblem is,
The bird to sinners I compare,
The thorns are like those sins of his
Which do surround him everywhere.
Her songs, her food, and sunshine day,
Are emblems of those foolish toys,
Which to destruction lead the way,
The fruit of worldly, empty joys.
The arguments this child doth choose
To draw to him a bird thus wild,
Shows Christ familiar speech doth use
To make’s to him be reconciled.
The bird in that she takes her wing,
To speed her from him after all,
Shows us vain man loves any thing
Much better than the heavenly call.