The Caged Lark.

In vain !  Thy sunny fields are far away,1
And those blue vaults that echoed to thy lay2
For ever closed from thee ;3
In vain—since never more the lightsome air4
Upon its chartered breath thy wings shall bear5
Thy struggle to be free !6
Thou whose wide reign was o’er the flowers un-
Thy realm is now a span, and all thy throne8
One hillock of green mould !9
Not thine that kindly earth where sheltered lay10
Thy tender fledglings from the eye of day,11
Soft in its grassy fold.12
Shut out from heaven, confined to duties low,13
Tossed by a restless spirit to and fro,14
Like thee our wings we beat ;15
Our hopes, like thine, in fickle skies are shrined ;16
Or, turn we to this earth, like thee we find17
Life’s greenest spot a cheat !”18
Thus spake I, troubled. ’Twas an impious thought,19
Born of sick musing, and a mind o’erwrought :20
True wisdom lieth deeper ;21
Nor bolts nor bars, nor power of human wrong,22
Turning life’s music to a captive song,23
Can be the great soul’s keeper.24
Away, away to purer fields it flies,25
Where tells no blossom, while it bleeding dies,26
Of battle’s cruel story ;27
Where life’s true heroes, waking from their rest,28
Shall view this earth, as suns the reddened West,29
From whence they passed in glory.30
The weary strife, the beating of the bars,31
The torn limbs trailing neath the triumph-cars,32
The mockery and the moan,33
What boots it all to him whose path lies where34
Some conquering day his soul shall mount the air35
Up to a golden throne ?36