To My Canary.

Half Nature and half Art art thou,1
Poor city bird ;2
Thy birth was not on woodland bough3
With zephyrs stirred.4
A little box upon a nail5
Thy life received ;6
And I, when others’ care did fail,7
Thy wants relieved.8
The melody that rippling breaks9
From thy clear throat10
Was not thine own—the skylark makes11
That merry note.12
The greater world without thine own13
Is dark to thee ;14
Thy golden wings have never known15
Its mystery.16
The sun on thee, through cloudless sky,17
Did never smile ;18
Dull bricks and mortar have been thy19
Canary Isle.20
But if for freedom thou dost sigh,21
My captive pet,22
I’ll loose thy wings, and help thee fly23
This cage of fret.24
And then, thy airy soul, upflung25
Towards heaven’s gate,26
Will sing the song, as yet unsung27
Emancipate !28
Say, wilt thou fly the spreading air29
At thy sweet will,30
And never more in captive’s fare31
Dip thy free bill ?32
If so, just chirp one last farewell,33
And hie thee hence,34
And leave me, till passed time dispel35
This present tense.36
See ! now I throw thy cage-door wide,37
And set thee free.38
Stretch forth thy wings, in conscious pride39
Of liberty.40
Thy hops do halt, as if delayed41
By fearful doubt.42
Why hesitant ? why so dismayed43
To know you’re out ?44
Hast thou no wish to seek near brooks45
Cool shimmering shade ?46
Or dost thou still prefer the nooks47
By joiner made ?48
Thy years of caged ease have brought49
Such days of dreams,50
That liberty with labour fraught51
Worse bondage seems.52
Thou dar’st not go ! the wide outside53
Brings thee dismay ;54
The airs that thrill the lark’s life-tide55
Thy pulses stay.56
Then come, my sweet, and safe from harm57
Securely rest,58
And nestling in my bosom, calm59
Thy fluttering breast.60
And to this cage, with memories fond,61
Thy voice recall,62
And love shall knit its tenderest bond63
In willing thrall.64