Similizing Birds to a Ship


Birds from the cedars tall do2 take a flight
On stretchèd wings, to bear their bodies light.
As ships do sail over the ocean wide,
So birds do3 sail, and through the air do4 glide.
Their bodies are5 the keel; feet, cable rope;6                             5
The head, the steersman7 which doth guide the poop.
Their wings, as sails, with wind are stretched out wide,
But hard it is8 to fly against the tide.
For when the clouds do flow9 against their breast,
They10 weary grow, and on a bough11 do12 rest.                      10

  1. Similizing Birds to a Ship] Nature’s Ships. 1664; Nature’s Ships. 1668. The title in 1664 and 1668 is similar to a marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text, which reads, “Nature’s Ship.”
  2. do] which 1653
  3. birds do] do they 1664, 1668
  4. air do] Aire 1653
  5. are] as 1653
  6. cable rope;] Cabl’and Rope, 1664; Cabl’, and Rope; 1668
  7. steersman] Steer-man is, 1653
  8. hard it is] it is hard 1664, 1668
  9. A marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text reads: “In the air clouds move, or wave as water in the sea, and ebb and flow according to dry or moist weather.” In 1664 and 1668, the note reads, “Clouds in the air do move as water doth in the sea, and flow and ebb according to dry and moist weather.”
  10. They] Soon 1653
  11. A marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 and 1664 texts reads: “A bough is their haven.”
  12. do] they 1653