Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
The Grey Linnet
By James McCarroll (1814–1892)
 
THERE ’S a little grey friar in yonder green bush,
  Clothed in sackcloth—a little grey friar,
Like a druid of old in his temple—but hush!
  He ’s at vespers; you must not go nigher.
 
Yet, the rogue! can those strains be addressed to the skies,        5
  And around us so wantonly float,
Till the glowing refrain like a shining thread flies
  From the silvery reel of his throat?
 
When he roves, though he stains not his path through the air
  With the splendour of tropical wings,        10
All the lustre denied to his russet plumes there
  Flashes forth through his lay when he sings.
 
For the little grey friar is so wondrous wise,
  Though in such a plain garb he appears,
That on finding he can’t reach your soul through your eyes        15
  He steals in through the gates of your ears.
 
But—the cheat!—’tis not heaven he ’s warbling about.
  Other passions, less holy, betide.
For behold! there ’s a little grey nun peeping out
  From a bunch of green leaves at his side.        20
 
 
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