Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
From “Mano: a Poetical History.” I. The Skylark
Richard Watson Dixon (b. 1833)
THOU only bird that singest as thou flyest,
  Heaven-mounting lark, that measurest with thy wing
The airy zones, till thou art lost in highest!
  Upon the branch the laughing thrushes cling,
About her home the humble linnet wheels,        5
Around the tower the gather’d starlings swing;
  These mix their songs and weave their figur’d reels:
Thou risest in thy lonely joy away,
From the first rapturous note that from thee steals,
  Quick, quick, and quicker, till the exalted lay        10
Is steadied in the golden breadths of light,
’Mid mildest clouds that bid thy pinions stay.
  The heavens that give would yet sustain thy flight,
And o’er the earth for ever east thy voice,
If but to gain were still to keep the height.        15
  But soon thou sinkest on the fluttering poise
Of the same wings that soard’d: soon ceasest thou
The song that grew invisible with joys.
  Love bids thy fall begin; and thou art now
Dropp’d back to earth, and of the earth again,        20
Because that love hath made thy heart to bow.
  Thou hast thy mate, thy nest on lowly plain,
Thy timid heart by law ineffable
Is drawn from the high heavens where thou shouldst reign;
  Earth summons thee by her most tender spell;        25
For thee there is a silence and a song:
Thy silence in the shadowy earth must dwell,
  Thy song in the bright heavens cannot be long.
—And best to thee those fates may I compare
Where weakness strives to answer bidding strong.        30


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