Lines to a Dead Linnet.

By A Solitary Student.

Sweet little friend in hours of lonely thought,1
And studious toil thro’ the unresting day,2
Why hast thou left me to the sullen hours,3
So dull and changeless now ?  Thy light-heart
And fluttering plume of joy, beguile no more5
My weary mind, happy when so estranged,6
From books, which are the bane of all repose.7
The secret bustle of thy frequent meal,8
Like elfin working mischief, all unseen9
At bottom of thy cage ; thy dipping bill,10
Oft splashing sportive o’er the learned tome,11
And rousing my ’rapt soul to homelier themes ;12
The tuning twitter, snatch’d and interrupt—13
The timorous essay, low and querulous—14
The strain symphonious—and the full burst of
That made my study-walls re-echo sweet16
The harmonious peal, while all its tatter’d maps17
And prints unframed, responsive tremblings
gave ;—
All these are past, and joy takes wing with thee.19
Nor less, when in the dreary night, far spent,20
Still was I pondering o’er the murky page,21
Hast thou attracted notice by thy bill22
Rattling along the wires ; and in the twinkle—23
The clos’d—and then, bright little eye, half-oped,24
Well have I read thy meaning, and full soon,25
Thus warned of needful slumber, borne away26
The wasted lamp, and sought my lonely couch.27
Thy empty cage now hangs against the wall !28
No one inhabits it—nothing is there—29
Thy seed-box is half full of dust and film ;30
A spider weaves within thy water-glass :31
The wretchedness of silence—no response32
To calls and questionings of the heart—the mind—33
All show me thou art dead—for ever gone !34
I stand and gaze on thy perplexing cage—35
Like a friend’s house—deserted !— one we have
And before which, returning after years,37
We pause, and think of hours enjoyed within ;38
And gaze upon the dusty shutters—closed !39