The Skylark.

Hark to the dropping melody1
From the brown Lark above yon grimy cloud !2
Ambitious traveller ! for earth too proud,3
Wouldst join the angels’ psalmody ?4
Or is the steadfast sun the magnet bright5
That ever to the sky attracts thy flight ?6
Sing on, thou joyous reveller !7
Pouring tumultuous from thy reedy throat8
Torrents of sound : who heedless hears thy note,9
Is dull, or senseless driveller !10
’Twould seem thou hadst indeed heard heaven’s song,11
For strains like thine can ne’er from earth have sprung.12
Here, on the cool grass lazily13
Outstretched, I listen to thy happy note,14
And pleasant images upon me float,15
Watching thy form, that hazily16
Shews through slow-moving vapours high above,17
As up in fluttering spirals thou dost move.18
So once my soul, awakening19
From thoughtless slumber, sprung to greet the morn,20
And from its depths a merry lay was born ;21
Hope stood before me, beckoning,22
And led me forth along a golden way,23
Where sunlight never ceased to beam and play.24
Would that all we, here wandering25
About this earth, could sing away our days,26
And ne’er in discontent our voices raise,27
Short life in sorrow squandering ;28
And would that we to toil as blithely bent,29
As thou ascendest through the firmament.30
The nightingale’s sweet sorrowing31
Lulls us with fantasy and idle dreams,32
Till all the world to our charmed vision seems33
From solemn music borrowing34
Soft magic—a fair place of pleasant pain,35
Wherein to dream, and sigh, and dream again.36
Thy song is bright and vigorous,37
Seeming to summon men to active lives,38
Boldly proclaiming he who nobly strives39
’Gainst evils that beleaguer us,40
And faces manfully his worldly work,41
Shall prosper well—they ill who duty shirk.42
When twilight shades cross drearily43
The sinking day, and all afield is still,44
Save the vexed murmur of the restless rill,45
Like stone thou fallest, wearily,46
To earth, and, steeping in the dew thy breast,47
Secretly creepest to thy hidden nest.48