A Song In Three Parts

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The white broom flatt'ring her flowers in calm June weather,
  'O most sweet wear;
Forty-eight weeks of my life do none desire me,
  Four am I fair,'

  Quoth the brown bee
  'In thy white wear
  Four thou art fair.
  A mystery
  Of honeyed snow
  In scented air
  The bee lines flow
  Straight unto thee.
  Great boon and bliss
  All pure I wis,
  And sweet to grow
  Ay, so to give
  That many live.
  Now as for me,
  I,' quoth the bee,
  'Have not to give,
  Through long hours sunny
  Gathering I live:
  Aye debonair
  Sailing sweet air
  After my fare,
  Bee-bread and honey.
  In thy deep coombe,
  O thou white broom,
  Where no leaves shake,
  Bent nor clover,
  I a glad rover,
  Thy calms partake,
  While winds of might
  From height to height
  Go bodily over.
  Till slanteth light,
  And up the rise
  Thy shadow lies,
  A shadow of white,
  A beauty-lender
  Pathetic, tender.

  Short is thy day?
  Answer with 'Nay,'
  Longer the hours
  That wear thy flowers
  Than all dull, cold
  Years manifold
  That gift withhold.
  A long liver,
  O honey-giver,
  Thou by all showing
  Art made, bestowing,
  I envy not
  Thy greater lot,
  Nor thy white wear.
  But, as for me,
  I,' quoth the bee,
  'Never am fair.'


The nightingale lorn of his note in darkness brooding
  Deeply and long,
'Two sweet months spake the heart to the heart. Alas! all's over,
  O lost my song.'

  One in the tree,
  'Hush now! Let be:
  The song at ending
  Left my long tending
  Over als򮍊  Let be, let us go
  Across the wan sea.

  The little ones care not,
  And I fare not
  Amiss with thee.

  Thou hast sung all,
  This hast thou had.
  Love, be not sad;
  It shall befall
  When the bush buddeth
  And the bank studdeth-
  Where grass is sweet
  And damps do fleet,
  Her delicate beds
  With daisy heads
  That the Stars Seven
  Leaned down from heaven
  Shall sparkling mark
  In the warm dark
  Thy most dear strain
  Which ringeth aye true-
  Piercing vale, croft
  Lifted aloft
  Dropt even as dew
  With a sweet quest
  To her on the nest
  When damps we love
  Fall from above.

  "Art thou asleep?
  Answer me, answer me,
  Night is so deep
  Thy right fair form
  I cannot see;
  Answer me, answer me,
  Are the eggs warm?
  Is't well with thee?"

  Ay, this shall be
  Ay, thou full fain
  In the soft rain
  Shalt sing again.'


A fair wife making her moan, despised, forsaken,
  Her good days o'er;
'Seven sweet years of my life did I live belov褬
  Seven-no more.'

  Then Echo woke-and spoke
  'No more-no more,'
  And a wave broke
  On the sad shore
  When Echo said
  'No more,'

  Nought else made reply,
  Nor land, nor loch, nor sky
  Did any comfort try,
  But the wave spread
  Echo's faint tone
  All down the desolate shore,
  'No more-no more.'

© Jean Ingelow