In the Linden tree the live-long day,
   A mother robin has sat and cried.
"Lonely, lonely," she seems to say--
   Sitting her empty nest beside.
There's a dreary void in her aching breast,
   For in the dawning, dim and grey,
Her wee birds rose from the downy nest,
   And flew to the forest--away, away.

I sit at my window, sad and alone,
   And my heart echoes the robin's cry;
For out of the nest my birds have flown--
   And we are so lonely--my heart and I.
We listen in vain for the sound of feet
   Ringing and tripping from stair to hall,
In vain for the echo of voices sweet;
   dreary silence is over all.

In a glimmer of gems, and a sheen of white
   With the orange wreath on her snowy brow,
My wee bird Maud went out last night,
   And I ama lone in the old home now.
Alone with the memories sweet and sad,
   That flit like spirits from room to room,
Bright young faces, and voices glad,
   Lips of sweetness and cheeks of bloom.

Nothing but ghosts.  The mother bird
   Just now started with joyful screams,
For something, she thought, in the old nest stirred--
   'Twas only the ghostly feet of dreams.
We toiled for our birdies day by day,
   We shielded them ever with our own breasts,
Only to see them fly away,
   And make their homes in other nests.

They follow the path our feet have trod--
   I say it over, and over, and sigh,
"'Tis the law of heaven--the will of God,"
   Yet we are so lonely--the bird and I.
Nests must be builded, and homes be made,
   The world must keep up its strength and might,
Yet two lone hearts in the gathering shade,
Wish that their birdies were back, to-night.

Maurine by Ella Wheeler
Milwaukee: Cramer, Aikens & Cramer, 1876.

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