To the Whippoorwill

        Bird of the lone and joyless night,
           Whence is thy sad and solemn lay?
        Attendant on the pale moon's light,
           Why shun the gairish blaze of day?

        When darkness fills the dewy air,
           Nor sounds the song of happier bird,
        Alone, amid the silence there,
           Thy wild and plaintive note is heard.

        Thyself unseen, thy pensive moan
           Pour'd in no living comrade's ear,
        The forest's shaded depths alone
           Thy mournful melody can hear.

        Beside what still and secret spring,
           In what dark wood the livelong day,
        Sett'st thou with dusk and folded wing,
           To while the hours of light away.

        Sad minstrel! thou hast learn'd, like me,
           That life's deceitful gleam is vain;
        And well the lesson profits thee,
           Who will not trust its charm again.

        Thou, unbeguiled, thy plaint dost trill
           To listening night, when mirth is o'er:
        I, heedless of the warning, still
           Believe, to be deceived once more.