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The redbreast oft, at evening hours,
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
With hoary moss, and gathered flowers,
To deck the ground where thou art getting laid.

Robins are small insectivorous passerine birds, specifically a chat, that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family (Turdidae), but is now considered to be an Old World flycatcher. They are generally known for having a red breast.


  • The Redbreast, sacred to the household gods,
    Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky,
    In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves
    His shivering mates, and pays to trusted Man
    His annual visit.
  • Call for the robin-red-breast, and the wren,
    Since o'er shady groves they hover,
    And with leaves and flowers do cover
    The friendless bodies of unburied men.
    • John Webster, The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, A Dirge (1612).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 676.
  • The redbreast oft, at evening hours,
    Shall kindly lend his little aid,
    With hoary moss, and gathered flowers,
    To deck the ground where thou art laid.
  • Bearing His cross, while Christ passed forth forlorn,
    His God-like forehead by the mock crown torn,
    A little bird took from that crown one thorn.
    To soothe the dear Redeemer's throbbing head,
    That bird did what she could; His blood, 'tis said.
    Down dropping, dyed her tender bosom red.
    Since then no wanton boy disturbs her nest;
    Weasel nor wild cat will her young molest;
    All sacred deem the bird of ruddy breast.
  • On fair Britannia's isle, bright bird,
    A legend strange is told of thee.—
    'Tis said thy blithesome song was hushed
    While Christ toiled up Mount Calvary,
    Bowed 'neath the sins of all mankind;
    And humbled to the very dust
    By the vile cross, while viler men
    Mocked with a crown of thorns the Just.
    Pierced by our sorrows, and weighed down
    By our transgressions,—faint and weak,
    Crushed by an angry Judge's frown,
    And agonies no word can speak,—
    'Twas then, dear bird, the legend says
    That thou, from out His crown, didst tear
    The thorns, to lighten the distress,
    And ease the pain that he must bear,
    While pendant from thy tiny beak
    The gory points thy bosom pressed,
    And crimsoned with thy Saviour's blood
    The sober brownness of thy breast!
    Since which proud hour for thee and thine.
    As an especial sign of grace
    God pours like sacramental wine
    Red signs of favor o'er thy race!
  • Art thou the bird whom Man loves best,
    The pious bird with the scarlet breast,
    Our little English Robin;
    The bird that comes about our doors
    When autumn winds are sobbing?
  • Stay, little cheerful Robin! stay,
    And at my casement sing,
    Though it should prove a farewell lay
    And this our parting spring.
    * * * * *
    Then, little Bird, this boon confer,
    Come, and my requiem sing,
    Nor fail to be the harbinger
    Of everlasting spring.

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