George Meredith

To A Nightingale

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O nightingale! how hast thou learnt
The note of the nested dove?
While under thy bower the fern hangs burnt
And no cloud hovers above!
Rich July has many a sky
With splendour dim, that thou mightst hymn,
And make rejoice with thy wondrous voice,
And the thrill of thy wild pervading tone!
But instead of to woo, thou hast learnt to coo:
Thy song is mute at the mellowing fruit,
And the dirge of the flowers is sung by the hours
In silence and twilight alone.

O nightingale! 'tis this, 'tis this
That makes thee mock the dove!
That thou hast past thy marriage bliss,
To know a parent's love.
The waves of fern may fade and burn,
The grasses may fall, the flowers and all,
And the pine-smells o'er the oak dells
Float on their drowsy and odorous wings,
But thou wilt do nothing but coo,
Brimming the nest with thy brooding breast,
'Midst that young throng of future song,
Round whom the Future sings!

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George Meredith