Thursday, May 10, 2007

National Curriculum

A poem by Sara Coleridge (1802–1852) from Pretty Lessons (1845).


A swallow is hirundo, and noctua's an owl,
The osprey's haliëtos, a most rapacious fowl;
The sooty coot is fulica, the screech-owl is called strix,
And pica is the magpie, so fond of playing tricks;
And passer is the sparrow, and regulus a wren,
And perdix is a partridge, gallina is a hen;
And aquila's an eagle, and gallus chanticleer,
Alauda is the skylark we love so much to hear;
And turtur is the turtle-dove, monedula's a daw,
And cornix is the crow or rook, that doth so loudly caw;
An ostrich is called struthio, columba is a pigeon;
Palumbus is the ring-dove, Penelope the widgeon;
And larus is the sea-mew that wails above the wave,
Just like the ghost of some one that found a watery grave;
The cuckoo is called cuculus, and turdus is a thrush,
And vultur is the vulture who on his prey doth rush;
And pavo is the peacock that wears a gorgeous train,
Luscinia is the nightingale, and grus a long-necked crane;
And corvus is a raven, and milvus is a kite,
Accipiter the sharp-eyed hawk, so ready for a fight;
And halcyon's a king-fisher, of whom a tale is told,
Which you, my little boy, shall read before you're very old.

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