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then mute and sad, to think she must descend to the dull earth, which she would not touch but for necessity,

How do the blackbird and throssel, with their melodious voices, bil welcome to the cheerful spring, and in their fixed mouths warble forth such ditties as no art or instrument can reach to!

Nay, the smaller birds also do the like in their particular seasons, as, namely, the laverock, the titlark, the little linnet, and the honest robin, that loves mankind, both alive and dead.

But the nightingale - another of my airy creatures--breathes such sweet, loud music out of her little instrumental throat, that it might make mankind to think miracles are not ceased. He that at midnight, when the very laborer sleeps securely, should hear-as I have very often—the clear airs, the sweet descants, the natural rising and falling, the doubling and redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted above earth, and say, “ Lord, what music hast thou provided for the saints in heaven, when thou afforded bad men such music on earth?”

Izaak Walton, 1593-10-3.

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Hail to thee, blithe spirit !

Bird thou never wer't,
That from heaven, or near it,

Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher,

From the earth thou springest,
Like a cloud of fire ;

The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning

Of the setting sun,
O'er which clouds are brightening,

Thou dost float and run;
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale, purple even

Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven,

In the broad daylight,
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.

Keen as are the arrows

Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows

In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,

From one lonely cloud,
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.

What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?
From rainbow-clouds there flow not

Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a poet hidden

In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,

Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not :

Like a high-born maiden,

In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden

Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower :

Like a glow-worm golden,

In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden

Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view :

Like a rose embowered

In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered,

Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-wing'd thieves.

Sound of vernal showers

On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,

All that ever was Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass,

Teach no sprite or bird

What sweet thoughts are thine :
I have never heard

Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Chorus hymeneal,

Or triumphant chant,
Matched with thine would be all

But an empty vaunt-
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains

Of thy happy strain ?
What fields, or waves, or mountains ?

What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain ?

With thy clear, keen joyance

Languor can not be :
Shades of annoyance

Never come near thee :
Thou lovest, but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

Waking, or asleep,

Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream ;
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream ?

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet if we could scorn

Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near,

Better than all measures

Of delightful sound;

Better than all treasures

That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness

That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness

From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.



Fraught with a transient, frozen shower
If a cloud should haply lower,
Sailing o'er the landscape dark,
Mute, on a sudden, is the lark;
But when gleams the sun again
O'er the pearl-besprinkled plain,
And from behind his watery vail
Looks through the thin descending hail;
She mounts, and, lessening to the sight,
Salutes the blithe return of light,
And high her tuneful track pursues
Through the rainbow's melting hues.

Thomas Warton, 1728-1790.



When music waking, speaks the skylark nigh,
Just starting from the corn, he cheerly sings,
And trusts with conscious pride his downy wings;
Still louder breathes, and in the face of day
Mounts up, and calls on Giles to mark his way.
Close to his eyes his hat he instant bends,
And forms a friendly telescope, that lends
Just aid enough to dull the glaring light,
And place the wandering bird before his sight,
That oft beneath a light cloud sweeps along,
Lost for a while, yet pours the varied song.
The eye still follows, and the cloud moves by;
Again he stretches up the clear blue sky.

His form, his motion, undistinguish'd quite,
Save when he wheels direct from shade to light;
E’en then the songster a mere speck become,
Gliding like fancy's bubbles in a dream,
The gazer sees




I lay on my heathery hills all alone,

The storm-winds rush'd o'er me in turbulence loud;
My head rested lone on the gray moorland stone,

My eyes wandered starward from cloud unto cloud.
There wandered my eyes, but my thoughts onward passed,

Far, far beyond cloud-track or tempests' career;
At times I hummed songs, and the desolate waste

Was the first the sad chimes of my spirit to hear.
Gloomy and gray are the moorlands, where rest

My fathers, yet there doth the wild heather bloom ;
And amid the old cairns the lark buildeth her nest, .

And sings in the desert, o'er hill-top, and tomb !
Translation of Mrs. HowITT.



For so have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and, soaring upward, sing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and climb above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and inconstant, descending more and more at every breath of the tempest than it could recover by the libration and frequent weighing of his wings; till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over, and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing, as if it had learned music and motion from an angel, as he passed sometimes through the air about his ministries here below : so is the prayer of a good man.

JENEMY TAYLOR, 1613-1667.

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