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Spread out thy ivory wings, bird of the waters,
In shades the willow flings, some foeman loiters.
Tempting the trout that swim
Under the boulder grim,
Yet by the river's rim
Wait the sly plotters,
Thou in the distance dim
Bird of the waters.


Far down the placid stream fold each wide pinion,
Or where in distance screams thy lone companion,
Lonely beside her nest
In her white garments dressed,
Stainless her faithful breast,
Or in the canyon
Midst the tall ferns to rest
Fold each wide pinion.


Oft have I watched thy tall form by the river,
Where the long willows fall that the winds shiver,
Stately, majestic, lone,
Perched on a low-washed stone
With mosses overgrown,
By skill so clever
Watching the fish that come
Down the clear river.


Where is thy lonely nest deep in seclusion?
Where mayst thou turn to rest safe from intrusion?
Where is thy hidden haunt,
Secure from fear or want,
Close by some ferny font
Far from confusion,
Shut in by tree-trunks gaunt,
Deep in seclusion?


O, in some distant marsh, midst the tall grasses
Where thy cry shrill and harsh through the trees passes,
Where the bright musk-flowers bloom,
Shedding their quaint perfume,
Flaming the twilight gloom,
No stranger guesses
Where folds each ivory plume
Midst the tall grasses!


Art thou a hermit lone, stranger so stately,
Long to our stream unknown, coming so lately
Venturing forth for food
Vainly our gaze elude?
Some with intent most rude
To harm thee greatly
On thy calm peace intrude
Stranger so stately.


Back then lone anchorite, bird of the waters,
Spread thy broad wings for flight from the sky plotters;
Man has thy solace sought
In lonely tower or grot
Living in silent thought
'Till his tower totters,
Thine is of grasses wrought
Bird of the waters.