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Tabb Centenary Year XXIX

Five lyrics by Rev. John B. Tabb.

The Dead Thrush

Love of nest and mate and young,
Woke the music of his tongue,
While upon the fledgling’s brain
Soft it fell as scattered grain,
There to blossom tone for tone
Into echoes of his own.
Doth the passion wholly die
When the fountainhead is dry?
Nay, as vapor from the sea
Lives the dream eternally;
Soon the silent clouds again
Melt in rhapsodies of rain.

March 1896 (p. 38, Nature: Birds)

The Dove

A tuneful mist above a silent sea
O’er which thou broodest, seems thy voice to me;
A moan of widowed memory above
A tideless depth of erst impetuous love.

E’en as the main, thy circling monody
Upon the lone horizon meets the sky,
Where faintly flickers, in the distance far,
The afterglow of hope’s departed star.

Pour forth, sweet bird, thy requiem; and lo!
Night’s dreamy waves of sympathy o’erflow
To soothe thy pain, while thoughts, attuned to thine,
Melt into twilight tenderness divine.

1882 (p. 45, Nature: Birds)

Overflow

                           Hush!
                  With sudden gush
As from a fountain, sings in yonder bush
                  The hermit thrush.

                           Hark!
                  Did ever lark
With swifter scintillations fling the spark
                  That fires the dark?

                           Again,
                  Like April rain
Of mist and sunshine mingled, moves the strain
                  O’er hill and plain.

                           Strong
                  As love, O Song,
In flame or torrent sweep through Life along,
                  O’er grief and wrong.

1902 (p. 40, Nature: Birds)

Killdee

Killdee! Killdee! far o’er the lea
   At twilight comes the cry.
Killdee! a marsh-mate answereth
   Across the shallow sky.

Killdee! Killdee! thrills over me
   A rhapsody of light,
As star to star gives utterance
   Between the day and night.

Killdee! Killdee! O Memory,
   The twin birds, Joy and Pain,
Like shadows parted by the sun,
   At twilight meet again!

March 1886 (p. 34, Nature: Birds)

In Shadow

Heeds yonder star thy song,
   O warbler of the night?
“I know not, for the way is long
   That leads unto the light.
But as the music of the spheres,
A twinkling silence here appears,
Perchance my warbling from afar
   Appears a star.”

1923 (p. 44, Nature: Birds)

[“The Dove”: erst means formerly; the main is the sea; a monody is a poem of mourning; a requiem is a hymn for the dead; one American species of dove, Zenaida macroura, is called the Mourning Dove. “Killdee”: the Killdeer (so called because of the sound of its call) is an American species of plover, Charadrius vociferus.]


The references (page number and section) are to The Poetry of Father Tabb, ed. Francis A. Litz, Ph.D. (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1928). All of Tabb's poems published here in the Father Tabb Centenary Year were originally published before 1923.

Biblical references link to the New Advent Bible comprising Bishop Challoner's edition of the Douay-Rheims Bible (English) and the Sixto-Clementine edition of the Vulgate (Latin), since they are the versions which Father Tabb would have used as a Catholic.

The year 2009 is the centenary of the death of Rev. John Banister Tabb, November 19, 1909.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 05/03/09 04:24:31 PM
Categorized as Father Tabb Centenary Year.

   
         
         

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Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”