Newburyport Birders Guided Birding Tours | Bobolink – Robert of Lincoln, by William Cullen Bryant
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Bobolink – Robert of Lincoln, by William Cullen Bryant

Bobolink – Robert of Lincoln, by William Cullen Bryant

Bobolink by Tim Spahr
Merrily swinging on brier and weed,

Near to the nest of his little dame,
Over the mountain-side or mead,
Robert of Lincoln is telling his name:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Snug and safe is that nest of ours,
Hidden among the summer flowers,
Chee, chee, chee.


Robert of Lincoln is gayly drest,

Wearing a bright black wedding-coat;
White are his shoulders and white his crest
Hear him call in his merry note:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Look, what a nice coat is mine.
Sure there was never a bird so fine.
Chee, chee, chee.


Robert of Lincoln’s Quaker wife,

Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,
Passing at home a patient life,
Broods in the grass while her husband sings
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Brood, kind creature; you need not fear
Thieves and robbers while I am here.
Chee, chee, chee.


Modest and shy is she;

One weak chirp is her only note.
Braggart and prince of braggarts is he,
Pouring boasts from his little throat:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Never was I afraid of man;
Catch me, cowardly knaves, if you can!
Chee, chee, chee.


Six white eggs on a bed of hay,

Flecked with purple, a pretty sight!
There as the mother sits all day,
Robert is singing with all his might:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Nice good wife, that never goes out,
Keeping house while I frolic about.
Chee, chee, chee.


Soon as the little ones chip the shell,

Six wide mouths are open for food;
Robert of Lincoln bestirs him well,
Gathering seeds for the hungry brood.
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-linl,
Spink, spank, spink;
This new life is likely to be
Hard for a gay young fellow like me.
Chee, chee, chee.


Robert of Lincoln at length is made

Sober with work, and silent with care;
Off is his holiday garment laid,
Half forgotten that merry air:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Nobody knows but my mate and I
Where our nest and out nestlings lie.
Chee, chee, chee.


Summer wanes; the children are grown;

Fun and frolic no more he knows;

Robert of Lincoln’s a humdrum crone;

Off he flies, and we sing as he goes:

Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,

Spink, spank, spink;

When you can pipe that merry old strain,

Robert of Lincoln, come back again.

Chee, chee, chee.