It's mid September, the leaves are beginning to turn, and a rook has been overcome by a pleasantly Wordsworthian melancholy up on Twyford Down.
I heard a thousand blended notes,I was amazed to discover that, in the wild, rooks have a typical lifespan of 15-20 years, and in captivity might live as long as 60-70 years. Plenty of time to build up a store of nostalgic memories. No wonder they're always muttering to themselves.
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
Used t' be a really nice tree just 'ere. I used t' like sittin' in that tree. We 'ad some good larfs in that tree, we did. Bloody great wind blew it over. 'Course, we 'ad a proper feast o' grubs an' such in the big 'ole its roots made in the ground, din't we? It's an ill wind, innit, eh? I'm 22, you know... Soon be food for the crows meself. Funny birds, crows...
This particular rook is actually over 200 years old, though: I carefully extracted him from Bewick's A History of British Birds, volume 1, published in 1797. As it happens, the year before Wordsworth and Coleridge published Lyrical Ballads.