Songs of the Voices of Birds: The Nightingale Heard by the Unsatisfied Heart

written by

« Reload image

When in a May-day hush
Chanteth the Missel-thrush
The harp o’ the heart makes answer with murmurous stirs;
When Robin-redbreast sings,
We think on budding springs,
And Culvers when they coo are love’s remembrancers.

  But thou in the trance of light
  Stayest the feeding night,
And Echo makes sweet her lips with the utterance wise,
  And casts at our glad feet,
  In a wisp of fancies fleet,
Life’s fair, life’s unfulfilled, impassioned prophecies.

  Her central thought full well
  Thou hast the wit to tell,
To take the sense o’ the dark and to yield it so;
  The moral of moonlight
  To set in a cadence bright,
And sing our loftiest dream that we thought none did know.

  I have no nest as thou,
  Bird on the blossoming bough,
Yet over thy tongue outfloweth the song o’ my soul,
  Chanting, “forego thy strife,
  The spirit out-acts the life,
But MUCH is seldom theirs who can perceive THE WHOLE.

  “Thou drawest a perfect lot
  All thine, but holden not,
Lie low, at the feet of beauty that ever shall bide;
  There might be sorer smart
  Than thine, far-seeing heart,
Whose fate is still to yearn, and not be satisfied.”

© Jean Ingelow