The Sparrow and the Caged Bird.

Founded on an Anecdote Related in the Naturalist’s
Magazine .

I dote on every little bird1
That twitters in the sun2
I love them all, from having heard3
The simple tale of one !4
In cage that ’ neath the eaves was hung5
When morn put forth her smiles,6
A little yellow warbler sung7
A song of distant isles !8
One morn, when loud his melody,9
There came on idle wing10
A sparrow, and, from sympathy,11
Thus seem’d to say or sing : —12
Fair captive ! why this joyous lay,13
When sad should be thy heart ?14
Art thinking of a happier day,15
Forgetful what thou art ?16
Perchance, while high thy music floats, 17
Where ne’er thy wings may flee,18
Thy spirit rises with thy notes,19
For they, at least, are free !20
Thy song goes forth among the trees,21
And up to heaven’s high dome,22
And haply bears thee o’er the seas23
To thy own island home !24
Poor bird ! could’st thou come forth with me,25
I’d lead thee to the grove,26
Where all that’s known of slavery27
Is servitude to love !28
How sweet to join our airy chase,29
Or cower within thy nest,30
Yet only bound to that one place31
Because thou loved’st it best !32
Alas, alas ! the wish is vain,33
Thy prison-bars are strong ;34
But I will come to thee again,35
Adieu, sweet bird of song ! ”36
Away it flew, but day by day,37
Return’d with gather’d food,38
And through long months, the watchers say,39
Went on this work of good.40
I felt my holiest thoughts ascend,41
Such heaven-taught love to trace,42
And deem’d, perchance, this captive’s friend,43
The Howard of its race !44