To a Bird (1888)
Bright little warbler of the air,
The world to thee, I ween, is fair;
And free thy life from shade of care
So gaily dost thou sing.
While from thy happy throat is sent
That flood of song in ravishment,
Thou shamest me without intent —
Sad mourner that I be.
To one who knows not grief nor care
I doubt me not this world is fair,
And “pretty” “pretty” everywhere
As thou dost iterate.
But birdie dear, didst thou but see
The world as it appears to me,
Then “pretty” “pretty” might not be
The burden of thy song.
But oh! could I like thee arise
And wing my way toward the skies,
Not here, 'mid human miseries,
One moment would I dwell.
But once released from bonds of clay
I'd upward soar till thy sweet lay
Did in the distance melt away
Amidst an awful space.
I'd pause not till, through shining breach,
I'd catch, in songs that seraphs teach,
Notes only angel voices reach —
Where my loved one is gone.
Ah, birdie! were it thine to know
The grief that makes my sad tears flow
Thou couldst not sweetly warble so,
Thy little heart would break.