When Milton sang "O nightingale
That on yon gloomy spray,"
The sonneteer whom we revere
Lauded that birdie's lay.
While Keats's ode upon that bird
Was limpid as the notes
That, sweet and strong, were in the song
Of Philomelian throats.
And Bryant's "To a Water-fowl!"
Had praise in every line,
And every word about the bird
Impinged on the divine.
When Wordsworth did the skylark stuff,
He praised the bird a few,
And Shelley's ode sincerely showed
He liked the skylark, too.
O Poets, if ye had but dwelt
Upon a Harlem block,
Fain would I read your poems sweet
Upon the sparrows' "Peet! Peet! Peet!"
The sparrows that have built their nest
Ten feet from where one takes one's rest,
And 'gin their merry, blithesome song
Each morning--quenchless, clear and strong
Promptly at four o'clock.