So then the birds were all made separate characters by having each a separate name given it.
Brown-Eyes, Tip-Top, Singer, Toddy, and Speckle made, as they grew bigger, a very crowded nestful of birds.
Now the children had early been taught to say in a little hymn:-
"Birds in their little nests agree; And 'tie a shameful sight When children of one family Fall out, and chide, and fight;" -
and they thought anything really written and printed in a hymn must be true; therefore they were very much astonished to see, from day to day, that THEIR little birds in their nest did NOT agree.
Tip-Top was the biggest and strongest bird, and he was always shuffling and crowding the others, and clamouring for the most food; and when Mrs. Robin came in with a nice bit of anything, Tip-Top's red mouth opened so wide, and he was so noisy, that one would think the nest was all his. His mother used to correct him for these gluttonous ways, and sometimes made him wait till all the rest were helped before she gave him a mouthful; but he generally revenged himself in her absence by crowding the others and making the nest generally uncomfortable. Speckle, however, was a bird of spirit, and he used to peck at Tip-Top; so they would sometimes have a regular sparring-match across poor Brown-Eyes, who was a meek, tender little fellow, and would sit winking and blinking in fear while his big brothers quarrelled. As to Toddy and Singer, they turned out to be sister birds, and showed quite a feminine talent for chattering; they used to scold their badly behaving brothers in a way that made the nest quite lively.
On the whole Mr. and Mrs. Robin did not find their family circle the peaceable place the poet represents.
"I say," said Tip-Top one day to them, "this old nest is a dull, mean, crowded hole, and it's quite time some of us were out of it. Just give us lessons in flying, won't you? and let us go."