A Wren's Nest

William Wordsworth

Among the dwellings framed by birds
     In field or forest with nice care,
Is none that with the little Wren's
     In snugness may compare.

No door the tenement requires,
     And seldom needs a laboured roof;
Yet is it to the fiercest sun
     Impervious, and storm-proof.

So warm, so beautiful withal,
     In perfect fitness for its aim,
That to the Kind by special grace
     Their instinct surely came.

And when for their abodes they seek
     An opportune recess,
The hermit has no finer eye
     For shadowy quietness.

These find, 'mid ivied abbey-walls,
     A canopy in some still nook;
Others are pent-housed by a brae
     That overhangs a brook.

There to the brooding bird her mate
     Warbles by fits his low clear song;
And by the busy streamlet both
     Are sung to all day long.

Or in sequestered lanes they build,
     Where, till the flitting bird's return,
Her eggs within the nest repose,
     Like relics in an urn.

But still, where general choice is good,
     There is a better and a best;
And, among fairest objects, some
     Are fairer than the rest;

This, one of those small builders proved
     In a green covert, where, from out
The forehead of a pollard oak,
     The leafy antlers sprout;

For She who planned the mossy lodge,
     Mistrusting her evasive skill,
Had to a Primrose looked for aid
     Her wishes to fulfill.
High on the trunk's projecting brow,
     And fixed an infant's span above
The budding flowers, peeped forth the nest
     The prettiest of the grove!

The treasure proudly did I show
     To some whose minds without disdain
Can turn to little things; but once
     Looked up for it in vain:

'Tis gone---a ruthless spoiler's prey,
     Who heeds not beauty, love, or song,
'Tis gone! (so seemed it) and we grieved
     Indignant at the wrong.

Just three days after, passing by
     In clearer light the moss-built cell
I saw, espied its shaded mouth;
     And felt that all was well.

The Primrose for a veil had spread
     The largest of her upright leaves;
And thus, for purposes benign,
     A simple flower deceives.

Concealed from friends who might disturb
     Thy quiet with no ill intent,
Secure from evil eyes and hands
     On barbarous plunder bent,

Rest, Mother-bird! and when thy young
     Take flight, and thou art free to roam,
When withered is the guardian Flower,
     And empty thy late home,

Think how ye prospered, thou and thine,
     Amid the unviolated grove
Housed near the growing Primrose-tuft
     In foresight, or in love.

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