O, had I the wings of a swallow, I'd fly

O, had I the wings of a swallow, I'd fly
Where the roses are blossoming all the year long,
Where the landscape is always a feast to the eye,
And the bills of the warblers are ever in song;
O, then I would fly from the cold and the snow,
And hie to the land of the orange and vine,
And carol the winter away in the glow,
That rolls o'er the ever green bowers of the line.

Indeed, I should gloomily steal o'er the deep,
Like the storm-loving petrel, that skims there, alone;
I would take me a dear little martin to keep
A sociable flight to the tropical zone:
How cheerily, wing by wing, over the sea
We would fly from the dark clouds of winter away,
And for ever our song and our twitter should be,
“To the land where the year is eternally gay.”

We would nestle awhile in the jessamine bowers,
And take up our lodge in the crown of the palm,
And live, like the bee, on its fruits and its flowers,
That always are flowing with honey and balm;
And there we would stay, till the winter is o'er,
And April is checkered with sunshine and rain,—
O, then we would flit from that far-distant shore
Over island and wave to our country again.

How light we would skim, where the billows are rolled
Through clusters that bend with the cane and the lime;
And break on the beaches in surges of gold,
When morning comes forth in her loveliest prime:
We would touch for a while, as we traversed the ocean,
At the islands that echoed to Waller and Moore,
And winnow our wings with an easier motion
Through the breath of the cedar that blows from the shore.

And when we had rested our wings, and had fed
On the sweetness that comes from the juniper groves,
By the spirit of home and of infancy led,
We would hurry again to the land of our loves;
And when from the breast of the ocean would spring,
Far off in the distance, that dear native shore,
In the joy of our hearts we would cheerily sing,
“No land is so lovely when winter is o'er.”
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