Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
VI. Animate Nature
The Winged Worshippers
Charles Sprague (1791–1875)
   [Addressed to two swallows that flew into the Chauncy Place Church during divine service.]

    GAY, guiltless pair,
What seek ye from the fields of heaven?
    Ye have no need of prayer;
Ye have no sins to be forgiven.
    Why perch ye here,        5
Where mortals to their Maker bend?
    Can your pure spirits fear
The God ye never could offend?
    Ye never knew
The crimes for which we come to weep.        10
    Penance is not for you,
Blessed wanderers of the upper deep.
    To you ’t is given
To wake sweet Nature’s untaught lays;
    Beneath the arch of heaven        15
To chirp away a life of praise.
    Then spread each wing
Far, far above, o’er lakes and lands,
    And join the choirs that sing
In yon blue dome not reared with hands.        20
    Or, if ye stay,
To note the consecrated hour,
    Teach me the airy way,
And let me try your envied power.
    Above the crowd        25
On upward wings could I but fly,
    I ’d bathe in yon bright cloud,
And seek the stars that gem the sky.
    ’T were heaven indeed
Through fields of trackless light to soar,        30
    On Nature’s charms to feed,
And Nature’s own great God adore.

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