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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Lark on Salisbury Plain
By Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)
 
From ‘Our Hundred Days in Europe’

ONE incident of our excursion to Stonehenge had a significance for me which renders it memorable in my personal experience. As we drove over the barren plain, one of the party suddenly exclaimed, “Look! Look! See the lark rising!” I looked up with the rest. There was the bright blue sky, but not a speck upon it which my eyes could distinguish. Again, one called out, “Hark! Hark! Hear him singing!” I listened, but not a sound reached my ear. Was it strange that I felt a momentary pang? Those that look out at the windows are darkened, and all the daughters of music are brought low. Was I never to see or hear the soaring songster at heaven’s gate, unless,—unless,—if our mild humanized theology promises truly, I may perhaps hereafter listen to him singing far down beneath me? For in whatever world I may find myself, I hope I shall always love our poor little spheroid, so long my home, which some kind angel may point out to me as a gilded globule swimming in the sunlight far away. After walking the streets of pure gold in the New Jerusalem, might not one like a short vacation, to visit the well-remembered green fields and flowery meadows? I had a very sweet emotion of self-pity, which took the sting out of my painful discovery that the orchestra of my pleasing life entertainment was unstringing its instruments, and the lights were being extinguished,—that the show was almost over. All this I kept to myself, of course, except so far as I whispered it to the unseen presence which we all feel is in sympathy with us, and which, as it seemed to my fancy, was looking into my eyes, and through them into my soul, with the tender, tearful smile of a mother who for the first time gently presses back the longing lips of her as yet unweaned infant.  1
 
 
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