Three from Read & Dobrée III
Three poems from The London Book of English Verse.
As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap and birds did sing,
Trees did grow and plants did spring;
Every thing did banish moan
Save the nightingale alone.
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean'd her breast against a thorn
And there sung the doleful'st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity.
Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry:
Teru, teru, by and by:
That to hear her so complain
Scarce I could from tears refrain;
For her griefs so lively shown
Made me think upon mine own.
Ah, thought I, thou mourn'st in vain,
None takes pity on thy pain;
Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee,
Ruthless beasts, they will not cheer thee;
King Pandion, he is dead,
All thy friends are lapped in lead:
All thy fellow birds do sing,
Careless of thy sorrowing:
Even so, poor bird, like thee
None alive will pity me.
The Flower-Fed Buffaloes
The flower-fed buffaloes of the spring
In the days of long ago,
Ranged where the locomotives sing
And the prairie flowers lie low:
The tossing, blooming, perfumed grass
Is swept away by the wheat,
Wheels and wheels and wheels spin by
In the spring that still is sweet.
But the flower-fed buffaloes of the spring
Left us, long ago.
They gore no more, they bellow no more,
They trundle around the hills no more:
With the Blackfeet, lying low,
With the Pawnees, lying low,
Nightingale and Flowers
Thou hearest the Nightingale begin the Song of Spring:
The Lark, sitting upon his earthy bed, just as the morn
Appears, listens silent; then, springing from the waving Cornfield, loud
He leads the Choir of Day: trill, trill, trill, trill,
Mounting upon the wings of light into the Great Expanse,
Reechoing against the lovely blue & shining heavenly Shell;
His little throat labours with inspiration; every feather
On throat & breast & wings vibrates with the effluence Divine.
All Nature listens silent to him, & the awful Sun
Stands still upon the Mountain looking on this little Bird
With eyes of soft humility & wonder, love & awe.
Then loud from their green covert all the Birds begin their Songs:
The Thrush, the Linnet & the Goldfinch, Robin & the Wren
Awake the Sun from his sweet revery upon the Mountain:
The Nightingale again assays his song, and thro' the day
And thro' the night warbles luxuriant; every Bird of Song
Attending his loud harmony with admiration and love.
This is a Vision of the lamentation of Beulah over Ololon.
Thou perceivest the Flowers put forth their precious Odours,
And none can tell how from so small a center comes such sweet,
Forgetting that within that Center Eternity expands
Its ever during doors, that Og and Anak fiercely guard.
First, e'er the morning breaks, joy opens in the flowery bosoms,
Joy even to tears, which the Sun rising dries; first the Wild Thyme
And Meadow-sweet, downy & soft waving among the reeds,
Light springing on the air, lead the sweet Dance: they wake
The Honeysuckle sleeping on the Oak; the flaunting beauty
Revels along upon the wind; the White-thorn, lovely May,
Opens her many lovely eyes listening; the Rose still sleeps,
None dare to wake her; soon she bursts her crimson curtain'd bed
And comes forth in the majesty of beauty; every Flower,
The Pink, the Jessamine, the Wall-flower, the Carnation.
The Jonquil, the mild Lily, opes her heavens; every Tree
And Flower & Herb soon fill the air with an innumerable Dance,
Yet all in order sweet & lovely. Men are sick with Love.
Such is a Vision of the lamentation of Beulah over Ololon.
The London Book of English Verse (1949), ed. Herbert Read and Bonamy Dobrée, ## 65, 78, 385; pp. 87f, 97, 315f.
See also Three from Read & Dobrée II: Three poems from The London Book of English Verse.
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Sun. 05/01/05 07:13:41 AM
Categorized as Literary & Sunday Poetry Series.