Poems (Coates 1916)/Volume I/The Lark
THERE is a legend somewhere told
Of how the skylark came of old
To the dying Saviour's cross,
And circling round that form of pain
Poured forth a wild, lamenting strain,
As if for human loss.
Pierced by those accents of despair,
Upon the tiny mourner there
Turning his fading eyes,
The Saviour said, "Dost thou so mourn,
And is thy fragile breast so torn,
That man, thy brother, dies?
"O'er all the world uplifted high,
We are alone here, thou and I;
And near to heaven and thee
I bless thy pity-guided wings!
I bless thy voice—the last that sings
Love's requiem for me!
"Sorrow no more shall fill thy song;
These frail and fluttering wings grown strong,
Thou shalt no longer fly
Earth's captive—nay, but boldly dare
The azure vault, and upward bear
Thy transports to the sky!"
Soon passed the Saviour; but the lark,
Close hovering near Him in the dark,
Could not his grief abate;
And nigh the watchers at the tomb,
Still mourned through days of grief and gloom,
With note disconsolate.
But when to those sad mourners came,
In rose and amethyst and flame,
The Dawn Miraculous,
Song in which sorrow had no part
Burst from the lark's triumphant heart—
Sweet and tumultuous!
An instant, as with rapture blind,
He faltered; then, his Lord to find,
Straight to the ether flew,—
Rising where falls no human tear,
Singing where still his song we hear
Piercing the upper blue!