Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
The Blackbird
By Henry Charles Beeching (1859–1919)
DEAREST, these household cares remit;
  And while the sky is blue to-day,
Here in this sunny shelter sit,
  To list the blackbird’s lay.
Is all so rare, romantic boy?        5
  Is love so new and strange, that thou
Must with that wild and shrilling joy
  Thrill the yet wintry bough?
Ah, now ’tis softer grown, more sweet,—
  ‘I come, I come, O love, O my love,’—        10
And he is fluttering to her feet
  In yonder purple grove.
Now hark! all summer swells the note
  And dreams of mellow ripeness make
So ripe, so rich his warbling throat        15
  For spouse and children’s sake.
Lover and prophet, see! the flower
  Of cherry is hardly white, and figs
Are leafless, and thy nuptial bower
  A cage of rattling twigs.        20
Yet faith is evidence, and hope
  Substance, and love sufficient fire;
And Art in these finds ampler scope
  Than in fulfill’d desire.
So play thy Pan’s pipe, happy Faun,        25
  Till some May night with moonshine pale,
Thou pin’st, to hear by wood or lawn
  Apollo’s nightingale.

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