Bird of the meadow,
Sunlight and shadow,
Swaying at ease on the tall blooming math,
Where the low breezes join in the laugh.
Once so cheerily,
Now so drearily,
Run these sad hours in the long stony street;
No dale or mountain,
Grain-field or fountain,
Only the clamor, the dust, and the heat.
Here thou art dozing,
Hiding thy head 'neath a poor prisoned wing,
Dreaming of heaven,
Whence thou wast riven,
And all the glad light and the glory of spring.
Sweet little lover,
Scenting the clover,
Brushing the dewdrops in dreams from the spray,
Where are thy loved ones?
Where are thy lost ones?
Mournful, I ween, is thy poor captive lay.
Oh, it was needless,
This act so heedless,
To prison thee here in a dull city room;
Hostage of gladness,
Given to sadness,
Born out of sunlight and music and bloom.
See, he is waking,
His pinions shaking,
And out pours a flood-tide of melody bright;
Now it is rushing,
Gurgling and gushing,
Like the clear stream of the soul's pure delight.
Oh, the sweet feeling,
Rippling and reeling,
Tipsy with glee as it pours from his heart!
Naught can I summon,
Divine or human,
To paint, sweet enchanter, all that thou art.
Steeped in contentment,
Naught of resentment
Lurks in the bliss of thy rollicking strain:
Spurning thy durance,
With perfect assurance
That solely to live is an infinite gain.
Of changeless summer,
Ecstacy's home is thy dear little breast;
Tell me thy secret;
Canst thou reveal it?
Tell me, oh tell me, why thou art blest.
Then shall these places
Blossom with graces,
Where I have sighed so long to be free;
Sharing thy spirit,
All joy to inherit,
Captive, oh, then shall captivity be.