The Spring Call

    Down Wessex way, when spring’s a-shine,
     The blackbird’s “pret-ty de-urr!”
    In Wessex accents marked as mine
     Is heard afar and near.

    He flutes it strong, as if in song
     No R’s of feebler tone
    Than his appear in “pretty dear,”
     Have blackbirds ever known.

    Yet they pipe “prattie deerh!” I glean,
     Beneath a Scottish sky,
    And “pehty de-aw!” amid the treen
     Of Middlesex or nigh.

    While some folk say — perhaps in play —
     Who know the Irish isle,
    ‘Tis “purrity dare!” in treeland there
     When songsters would beguile.

    Well: I’ll say what the listening birds
     Say, hearing “pret-ty de-urr!” —
    However strangers sound such words,
     That’s how we sound them here.

    Yes, in this clime at pairing time,
     As soon as eyes can see her
    At dawn of day, the proper way
     To call is “pret-ty de-urr!”

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