The Sweetest Sad Song In The Woods

: Things To See In Springtime

Once a great American poet was asked which he thought was the sweetest voice in the woods. He said: "The sweetest sound in Nature is the calling of the Screech Owl."

Sometimes, though rarely, it does screech, but the sound it most often makes is the soft mournful song that it sings in the woods at night, especially in the autumn nights.

It seems to be moaning a lament for the falling leaves, a sad good-bye to the dear dying summer.


Last autumn one sat above my head in the dark October woods, and put his little soul into a song that seemed to be

Ohhhh! Ohhhh!

The leaves are falling:

Ohhhh! Ohhhh!

A sad voice calling;

Ohhhh! Ohhhh!

The Woodbirds flying;

Ohhhh! Ohhhh!

Sweet summer's dying,

Dying, Dying.

The Lament of the Owl. Notation by Ann Seton

[You can play this music (MIDI file) by clicking here.]

[You can see the sheet music (PDF file) by clicking here.]

A mist came into my eyes as I listened, and yet I thanked him. "Dear voice in the trees, you have said the things I felt, and could not say; but voicing my sadness you have given it wings to fly away."