To the Swallows on Their Arrival 1809
Ye social birds that fluttering in the gale
Now seek your ancient nests of down and clay,
Prophets of summer, I your presence hail,
And greet your coming with propitious day.
Oh may you not by some rude schoolboy’s hand
Demolished find your toil erected nest,
When from long journey over sea and land
Fatigued you seek to take your wonted rest.
Or when you view again the fabrick rise
And think to find the guerdon of your toil
No sacrilegious hand before your eyes
Once more bereave you of the valued spoil.
But may you still in peace remain
Till Winter bids you seek more Southern climes again.