To the Nightingale

I love to hear the Nightingale—
She comes where Summer dwells—
Among the brakes and orchis flowers,
And foxglove's freckled bells.

Where mugwort grows like mignonette,
And molehills swarm with ling;
She hides among the greener May,
And sings her love to Spring.

I hear her in the Forest Beach,
When beautiful and new;
Where cow-boys hunt the glossy leaf,
Where falls the honey-dew.

Where brambles keep the waters cool
For half the Summer long;
The maiden sets her pitcher down,
And stops to hear the song.

The redcap is a painted bird,
And sings about the town;
The Nightingale sings all the eve,
In sober suit of brown.

I knew the sparrow could not sing;
And heard the stranger long:
I could not think so plain a bird
Could sing so fine a song.

I found her nest of oaken leaves,
And eggs of paler brown,
Where none would ever look for nests,
Or pull the sedges down.

I found them on a whitethorn root,
And in the woodland hedge,
All in a low and stumpy bush,
Half hid among the sedge.

I love the Poet of the Woods,
And love to hear her sing,—
That, with the cuckoo, brings the love
And music of the Spring.

Man goes by art to foreign lands,
With shipwreck and decay;
Birds go with Nature for their guide,
And GOD directs their way—

GOD of a thousand worlds on high!—
Proud men may lord and dare;
POWER tells them that the meaner things
Are worthy of HIS care.
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