To a Blackbird.

Bird on the bough,1
Why singest thou ?2
O wherefore that redundant song ?3
Dost long to pour,4
As heretofore,5
Thy flute-like music from the leafless tree,6
And herald Spring (ere storms have ceased to be)7
With silver tongue ?8
Upon mine ear9
Fall loud and clear10
The sweet notes of thy minstrelsy.11
Blow wind ! Beat rain12
Upon the pane !13
Yon bird of mellow throat and dusky feather14
Warbles, unmindful of the wintry weather,15
Now chilling me.16
O joyous bird !17
My heart is stirred18
My weary heart is comforted.19
Thy vesper hymn20
I’ the twilight dim,21
When earth is tristful, and when skies are sobbing,22
Has quelled the pain that sent my pulses throbbing23
With anxious dread.24
Bird on the bough !25
Say, mindest thou26
The day when all the world was white ?27
When from my sill28
Thy yellow bill29
With sweets I ravished ?  When ’mid frost ferns peering30
I watched thee, joyed with thy presumptuous nearing,31
Nor scared to flight ?32
Say, is the song33
That floats along34
From airy regions to my heart,35
For soothèd sense36
A recompense ?37
Dost wish to chase my grief by rapturous singing ?38
To teach me how to live—by lofty winging39
The clouds to part ?40
Or dost forget41
Thy paltry debt,42
And ring out liquid notes for joy ?43
Ere yet the earth44
Has given birth45
To nascent buds that blossom into flowers46
Ere yet the spring-tide raineth genial showers47
Of sunlight coy ?48
O sweet ! O rare !49
Beyond compare !50
Dost dream of rose-flushed apple-tree ?51
Of the coming day52
When laughing May,53
Will shake her magic bells to give thee pleasure,54
And spread her balsamed leaves to guard thy treasure55
And shelter thee ?56
Bird on the bough !57
Enough, that thou58
In thy glad pæan to the skies,59
Hast lifted me60
From apathy61
Hast bid me vanquish pain, be brave and cheery,62
Even in unblissful hours, when days are dreary,63
And doubts arise.64