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.