Song Thrush Turdus philomelos, Grive musicienne.

3 occurrences (2 throstle, 1 thrush)

HARTING (p. 137) exclaimed that: "It is somewhat singular that the Thrush (Turdus musicus), a bird as much famed for song as either the nightingale or the lark, has been so little noticed by Shakespeare." But the three passages where the thrush occurs are in direct relation with its song: in A Midsummer Night's Dream (3 1 122), Bottom sings of "The throstle with his note so true"; in The Winter's Tale it is associated with:

The lark, that tirra-lirra chants,

With heigh! with heigh! the thrush and the jay,

Are summer songs for me and my aunts,

While we lie tumbling in the hay.

(4 3 9-10-3)

And finally with The Merchant of Venice (1 2 57) Shakespeare makes a comical usage of this trait, leaving the classical poetic uses, when Portia, speaking of the French Lord Le Bon, says: "If a throstle sing, he falls straight a-cap'ring", that he will seize every opportunity to dance.

The practice of taking small birds with bird-lime, "my invention / Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frieze" (OTH 2 1 125-6), was very common and King Henry VI says in reference to his suspicions of Gloucester designs:

The bird that hath been limed in a bush

With trembling wings misdoubteth every bush;

And I, the hapless male to one sweet bird,

Have now the fatal object in my eye

Where my poor young was lim'd, was caught, and kill'd.

(3H6 5 6 13-7)

About thrush and lime TILLEY (S270) quotes "The Thrush (foolish bird) limes herself with that which grew from her own excretion", a proverb which denotes a good understanding of some natural cycles. At the time people were well aware of the fact that it is the thrush that disseminates mistletoe.