Sounding Childhood

"Little maiden and little bird"

The Little Maiden and the Little Bird” is by the American writer Lydia Maria Child, an activist for women’s rights, Native American rights, and an abolitionist; author of Hobomok (1824) and editor of the children’s periodical Juvenile Miscellany from 1826-34.  This song also shows her to be very interested in animal welfare, for when the child tells the bird “Foolish one, come in the house to stay,” the bird replies “No, little maiden! God guides me Over the hills and over the sea;/ I will be free as the rushing air, And sing of sunshine ev’rywhere.” The music, set by an unknown composer, is found in Edy’s Songs of Happy Life. It is a reminder of the Victorian penchant to have birds in very small cages.

We split the choir into two parts for the call and response between child and bird.


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