Why does the poet think that the rainbow gave birth to the kingfisher?

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If you've ever seen a kingfisher, you'll know that it has very brightly colored feathers. And when the light catches those feathers, it seems that all the colors of the rainbow suddenly become visible. The speaker is so enamored of the kingfisher's beauty that he encourages the bird to show off his gorgeous colors, to go off and proudly display his feathers along with the peacocks on a lawn and flap his bright, colorful wings in front of kings.

But then the speaker collects himself. The kingfisher isn't a proud bird. Like the speaker, it seeks a nice, quiet place, far from the madding crowd. Despite his extraordinary beauty, the kingfisher doesn't need to show off. All he needs is his natural habitat: a pool and a shady tree.

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In this poem by William Henry Davies, the poet addresses the kingfisher, his subject, directly, theorizing that it "was the Rainbow gave thee birth." Here he personifies the Rainbow, capitalizing its name and envisaging it as a mother, capable of carrying the kingfisher and thus passing on her own physical characteristics to it as offspring. Davies imagines that it was through this process that the Rainbow "left thee all her lovely hues." He suggests that the kingfisher's brightly colored feathers have been handed down to it from its mother. The metaphor is a reference to the fact that the kingfisher seems to contain all the colors of the rainbow, so beautifully arranged that it seems to have been by design that a rainbow became embodied in the bird's plumage.

Davies goes on to praise the fact that the bird, while incredibly beautiful and brightly colored, is not "vain." Like the rainbow, it is simply in the nature of the kingfisher to be so brightly colored.

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