Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
Bird’s Song at Morning
 
William James Dawson (b. 1854)
 
 
O THOU that cleavest heaven
With such unmastered flight,
To whom the fates have given
For sport the sky’s blue height;
Where cloud with cloud is meeting,        5
I see thy bright wings beating,
And flashing and retreating
Against the morning light!
 
No toilsome task thou knowest,
No day with tears begun,        10
Lighthearted forth thou goest
At morn to meet the sun;
All day thy song thou triest
From lowest note to highest,
And all unweary fliest        15
Until the day be done.
 
Thou knowest no toil for raiment,
No pain of mocked desire;
The skies are thy song’s payment,
The sun thy throne of fire.        20
Thou askest and receivest,
And if perchance thou grievest,
At will the world thou leavest
On wings that never tire.
 
Yet we of grosser stature        25
Have in thy flight a part,
We share thy tameless nature,
We have a nobler art.
When thou art tired returning,
There mount in love and yearning,        30
Toward suns of keener burning,
The winged thoughts of our heart.
 
Within our souls are folden
The wings thou canst not share,
We see a dawn more golden,        35
We breathe diviner air:
In sleep when toil is ended,
In prayer with hope attended,
We traverse ways more splendid,
And see a world more fair.        40
 
Yet oft, when day is gleaming
On sleepless eyes, we vow
We would exchange our dreaming
To be one hour as thou!
Such discontent we borrow,        45
That we forget in sorrow
We have the long to-morrow,
Thou only hast the NOW.
 

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