family of the order passerine birds
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Larks are small to medium-sized passerine birds of the family Alaudidae, occurring in the Old World and in northern and eastern Australia, with one species in North America. They have more elaborate calls than most birds, and often extravagant songs given in display flight. These melodious sounds (to human ears), combined with a willingness to expand into anthropogenic habitats — as long as these are not too intensively managed — have ensured larks a prominent place in literature and music.

Hark! hark! the lark
The bird that soars on highest wing,
Builds on the ground her lowly nest;
And she that doth most sweetly sing,
Sings in the shade when all things rest:
In lark and nightingale we see
What honor hath humility.


  • The year's at the spring
    And day's at the morn;
    Morning's at seven;
    The hillside's dew-pearled;
    The lark's on the wing;
    The snail's on the thorn;
    God's in his heaven--
    All's right with the world!
  • Here of a Sunday morning
    My love and I would lie,
    And see the coloured counties,
    And hear the larks so high
    About us in the sky.
  • There was an Old Man with a beard,
    Who said, "It is just as I feared! --
    Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
    Have all built their nests in my beard.
  • Skylark,
    Have you seen a valley green with Spring
    Where my heart can go a-journeying,
    Over the shadows in the rain
    To a blossom covered lane?
    And in your lonely flight,
    Haven't you heard the music in the night,
    Wonderful music,
    Faint as a will-o-the-wisp,
    Crazy as a loon,
    Sad as a gypsy serenading the moon.
  • Hark, hark! the lark
    On windswept bark
    Freezes against a sky of lead!
    Now see him stop,
    Take one small hop,
    And suddenly keel over dead!
  • Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
    Like to the lark at break of day arising
    From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate
    Down, down I come; like glistering Phaethon,
    Wanting the manage of unruly jades.
    In the base court? Base court, where kings grow base,
    To come at traitors' calls and do them grace.
    In the base court? Come down? Down, court!
    down, king!
    For night-owls shriek where mounting larks
    should sing.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 427-28.
  • Oh, stay, sweet warbling woodlark, stay,
    Nor quit for me the trembling spray,
    A hapless lover courts thy lay,
    Thy soothing, fond complaining.
  • The merry lark he soars on high,
    No worldly thought o'ertakes him.
    He sings aloud to the clear blue sky,
    And the daylight that awakes him.
  • The lark now leaves his watery nest,
    And climbing, shakes his dewy wings.
    He takes your window for the East
    And to implore your light he sings.
  • The pretty Lark, climbing the Welkin cleer,
    Chaunts with a cheer, Heer peer—I neer my Deer;
    Then stooping thence (seeming her fall to rew)
    Adieu (she saith) adieu, deer Deer, adieu.
  • Musical cherub, soar, singing, away!
    Then, when the gloaming comes,
    Low in the heather blooms
    Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be!
    Emblem of happiness,
    Blest is thy dwelling-place—
    O, to abide in the desert with thee!
  • Rise with the lark, and with the lark to bed.
  • None but the lark so shrill and clear;
    Now at heaven's gate she claps her wings,
    The morn not waking till she sings.
    • John Lyly, Alexander and Campaspe, Act V, scene 1.
  • To hear the lark begin his flight,
    And singing startle the dull Night,
    From his watch-tower in the skies,
    Till the dappled dawn doth rise.
  • And now the herald lark
    Left his ground-nest, high tow'ring to descry
    The morn's approach, and greet her with his song.
  • The bird that soars on highest wing,
    Builds on the ground her lowly nest;
    And she that doth most sweetly sing,
    Sings in the shade when all things rest:
    In lark and nightingale we see
    What honor hath humility.
  • I said to the sky-poised Lark:
    Thy note is more loud and free
    Because there lies safe for thee
    A little nest on the ground."
  • No more the mounting larks, while Daphne sings,
    Shall, list'ning, in mid-air suspend their wings.
  • O happy skylark springing
    Up to the broad, blue sky,
    Too fearless in thy winging,
    Too gladsome in thy singing,
    Thou also soon shalt lie
    Where no sweet notes are ringing.
  • Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
    And Phœbus 'gins arise,
    His steeds to water at those springs
    On chalic'd flowers that lies.
    And winking Mary-buds begin
    To ope their golden eyes;
    With everything that pretty is,
    My lady sweet, arise!
  • Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes
    Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
    The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
    And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad;
    The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
    No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
    So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
  • Lo! here the gentle lark, weary of rest,
    From his moist cabinet mounts up on high,
    And wakes the morning, from whose silver breast
    The sun ariseth in his majesty.
  • Hail to thee blithe Spirit!
    Bird thou never wert,
    That from Heaven, or near it,
    Pourest thy full heart
    In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
  • Better than all measures
    Of delightful sound,
    Better than all treasures
    That in books are found,
    Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!
  • Up springs the lark,
    Shrill-voiced, and loud, the messenger of morn;
    Ere yet the shadows fly, he mounted sings
    Amid the dawning clouds, and from their haunts
    Calls up the tuneful nations.
  • The lark that shuns on lofty boughs to build
    Her humble nest, lies silent in the field.
  • Ethereal minstrel! pilgrim of the sky!
    Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound?
    Or, while the wings aspire, are heart and eye
    Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground?
    Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will,
    Those quivering wings composed, that music still!
  • Leave to the nightingale her shady wood;
    A privacy of glorious light is thine:
    Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood
    Of harmony, with instinct more divine:
    Type of the wise who soar, but never roam:
    True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home!
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