Mary Howitt


The Coot

Oh Coot! oh bold, adventurous Coot,
I pray thee tell to me,
The perils of that stormy lime
That bore thee to the sea!

I saw thee on the river fuir,
Within thy sedgy screen ;
Around thee grew the bulrush tall.
And reeds so strong and green.

The kingfisher came back again
To view thy fairy place ;
The stately swan sailed statelier by,
As if thy home to grace.

Cut soon the mountain-flood came down,
And bowed the bulrush strong ;
And far above those tall green reeds,
The waters poured along.

"And where is the, the Water-Coot,"
I cried, " that creature good ?"
But then I saw thee in thine ark,
Regardless of the flood

Amid the foaming wave, thou sat'st.
And steer'dst thy little boat;
Thy nest of rush and water-reed
So bravely set afloat.

And on it went, and safely on
That wild and stormy tide;
And there thou sat'st, a mother-bird.
Thy young ones at thy Bide.

Oh Coot! oh bold, adventurous Coot,
I pray thee tell to me,
The perils of that stormy voyage
That bore thee to the sea!

Hadst thou no fear, as night came down
Upon thy watery way.
Of enemies, and dangers dire
That round about thee lay?

Didst thou not see the falcon grim
Swoop down as thou passed by?
And ‘mong the waving water flags
The lurking otter lie!

The eagle's scream came wildly near,
Yet, caused it no alarm?
Nor man, who seeing thee, weak thing,
Did strive to do thee harm?

And down the foaming waterfall.
As thou wast borne along,
Hadst thou no dread? Oh daring bird,
Thou hadst a spirit strong!

Yes, thou hadst fear. But He who sees
The sparrows when they fall;
He saw thee. bird, and gave thee strength
To brave thy perils all.

He kept thy little ark afloat;
He watched o'er thine and thee;
And safely through the foaming flood
Hath brought thee to the sea.
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