In the springtime a bird in a cage knows very well that there’s something he’d be good for; he feels very clearly that there’s something to be done but he can’t do it; what it is he can’t clearly remember, and he has vague ideas and says to himself, "the others are building their nests and making their little ones and raising the brood", and he bangs his head against the bars of his cage. And then the cage stays there and the bird is mad with suffering. "Look, there’s an idler", says another passing bird - "that fellow’s a sort of man of leisure".
A primavera un uccello in gabbia sa bene che c'è qualcosa a cui potrebbe servire, sente benissimo che ci sarebbe qualcosa da fare, ma non ci può far nulla, e cos'è questo? Non si ricorda bene, ha idee vaghe e dice: "Gli altri fanno i loro nidi e portano fuori i loro piccoli e li cibano" e poi sbatte il suo capino contro le grate della gabbia. Ma la gabbia resiste e l'uccello impazzisce dal dolore. "Guarda che fannullone", dice un altro uccello che passa lì davanti, "quello è un tipo che vive di rendita".
And yet the prisoner lives and doesn’t die; nothing of what’s going on within shows outside, he’s in good health, he’s rather cheerful in the sunshine. But then comes the season of migration. A bout of melancholy - but, say the children who look after him, he’s got everything that he needs in his cage, after all - but he looks at the sky outside, heavy with storm clouds, and within himself feels a rebellion against fate. "I’m in a cage, I’m in a cage, and so I lack for nothing, you fools! Me, I have everything I need! Ah, for pity’s sake, freedom, to be a bird like other birds!"