To the Nightingale (Cowper)

For works with similar titles, see To the Nightingale.

WHENCE is it, that amaz'd I hear
   From yonder wither'd spray,
This foremost morn of all the year,
   The melody of May?

And why, since thousands would be proud
   Of such a favour shown,
Am I selected from the crowd,
   To witness it alone?

Sing'st thou, sweet Philomel, to me,
   For that I also long
Have practis'd in the groves like thee,
   Though not like thee in song?

Or sing'st thou rather under force
   Of some divine command,
Commission'd to presage a course
   Of happier days at hand?

Thrice welcome then! for many a long
   And joyless year have I,
As thou to-day, put forth my song
   Beneath a wintry sky.

But thee no wintry skies can harm,
   When only need'st to sing,
To make ev'n January charm,
   And ev'ry season Spring.