The Nightingale Has A Lyre Of Gold

The nightingale has a lyre of gold,
The lark's is a clarion-call,
And the blackbird plays but a boxwood flute,
But I love him best of all.

For his song is all of the joy of life,
And we in the mad, spring weather,
We two have listened till he sang
Our hearts and lips together.

by William Ernest Henley.

The Sick Man And The Nightingale

(From Lenau.)


So late, and yet a nightingale?
Long since have dropp'd the blossoms pale,
The summer fields are ripening,
And yet a sound of spring?

O tell me, didst thou come to hear,
Sweet Spring, that I should die this year;
And call'st across from the far shore
To me one greeting more?

by Amy Levy.

The Nightingale

When grass grows green, and fresh leaves spring,
And flowers are budding on the plain,
When nightingales so sweetly sing,
And through the greenwood swells the strain,
Then joy I in the song and in the flower,
Joy in myself, but in my lady more;
All objects round my spirit turns to joy,
But most from her my rapture rises high.

by Bernard de Ventadorn.

What Bird So Sings

What bird so sings, yet so does wail,
'Tis Philomel the Nightingale;
Jug, jug, jug, tereu she cries,
And hating earth, to heaven she flies.
Ha, ha, hark, hark, the Cuckoos sing
Cuckoo, to welcome in the Spring.
Brave prick-song; who is't now we hear!
'Tis the Lark's silver lir-a-lir:
Chirrup, the Sparrow flies away;
For he fell to't ere break of day.
Ha, ha, hark hark; the Cuckoos sing
Cuckoo, to welcome in the Spring

by Thomas Dekker.

My Lady Nightingale

I heard you singing in the grove,
My Lady Nightingale;
The thirsty leaves were drinking dew,
And all the sky was pale.

A silence-clear as bells of peace
Your song thrilled on the air,
Each liquid note a thing of joy,
And sweet beyond compare.

Not all of joy-a haunting strain
Of sorrow and of tears,
A note of grief which seemed to voice
The sadness of the years.

'Twas pure, 'twas clear, 'twas wondrous sweet,
My Lady Nightingale,
Yet subtly sad, the song you sang
When all the sky was pale.

by Jean Blewett.

The Call Of The Nightingale

Awake! awake!
Sleep no more, my gentle mate!
With your tiny tawny bill,
Wake the tuneful echo shrill,
On vale or hill;
Or in her airy rocky seat,
Let her listen and repeat
The tender ditty that you tell,
The sad lament,
The dire event,
To luckless Itys that befell.
Thence the strain
Shall rise again,
And soar amain,
Up to the lofty palace gate
Where mighty Apollo sits in state
In Jove's abode, with his ivory lyre,
Hymning aloud to the heavenly choir,
While all the gods shall join with thee
In a celestial symphony.

by Aristophanes.

To The Nightingale

How passing sad! Listen, it sings again!
Art thou a spirit that, amongst the boughs,
The livelong night dost chant that wondrous strain,
Making wan Dian stoop her silver brows
Out of the clouds to hear thee? who shall say,
Thou lone one! that thy melody is gay,
Let him come listen now to that one note,
That thou art pouring o'er and o'er again
Through the sweet echoes of thy mellow throat,
With such a sobbing sound of deep, deep pain.
I prithee cease thy song! for from my heart
Thou hast made memory's bitter waters start,
And filled my weary eyes with the soul's rain.

by Frances Anne Kemble.

O Nightingale My Heart

O Nightingale my heart
How sad thou art!
How heavy is thy wing,
Desperately whirrëd that thy throat may fling
Song to the tingling silences remote!
Thine eye whose ruddy spark
Burned fiery of late,
How dead and dark!
Why so soon didst thou sing,
And with such turbulence of love and hate?

Learn that there is no singing yet can bring
The expected dawn more near;
And thou art spent already, though the night
Scarce has begun;
What voice, what eyes wilt thou have for the light
When the light shall appear,
And O what wings to bear thee t'ward the Sun?

by Robert Nichols.

The Nightingale

In April comes the Nightingale,
That sings when day's departed;
The poets call her Philomel,
And vow she's broken-hearted.


To them her soft, sweet, ling'ring note
Is like the sound of sorrow;
But some aver, no need hath she
The voice of grief to borrow.


No, 'tis the merry Nightingale,
Her pipe is clear and thrilling;
No anxious care, no keen regret,
Her little breast is filling.


She grieves when boys have robb'd her nest,
But so would Stork or Starling;
What mother would not weep and cry
To lose her precious darling?

by Sara Coleridge.

From The Break The Nightingale

From the brake the Nightingale
Sings exulting to the Rose;
Though he sees her waxing pale
In her passionate repose,
While she triumphs waxing frail,
Fading even while she glows;
Though he knows
How it goes -
Knows of last year's Nightingale
Dead with last year's Rose.

Wise the enamoured Nightingale,
Wise the well-beloved Rose!
Love and life shall still prevail,
Nor the silence at the close
Break the magic of the tale
In the telling, though it shows -
Who but knows
How it goes! -
Life a last year's Nightingale,
Love a last year's Rose.

by William Ernest Henley.

Early Nightingale

When first we hear the shy-come nightingales,
They seem to mutter o’er their songs in fear,
And, climb we e’er so soft the spinney rails,
All stops as if no bird was anywhere.
The kindled bushes with the young leaves thin
Let curious eyes to search a long way in,
Until impatience cannot see or hear
The hidden music; gets but little way
Upon the path - when up the songs begin,
Full loud a moment and then low again.
But when a day or two confirms her stay
Boldly she sings and loud for half the day;
And soon the village brings the woodman’s tale
Of having heard the new-come nightingale.

by John Clare.

Sonnet I The Nightingale

Not farther than a fledgling's weak first flight,
In a low dell, standeth an antique grove;
Dusky it is by day, but when 'tis night,
None may tread safely there, unlit by Love.
In lonelier days, it was my mood to rove
At all hours there—to hear what mirth I might
Of the passionate Lark, the brooding Dove,
And the strong Thrush—all breathers of delight.
When Night's drawn curtains darkened the deep vale,
And the rich music of the day was ended,
Out gushed a sudden song of saddest wail,
Breaking the silence it with sweetness mended:—
It was the voice of the waked Nightingale—
Come, love, and hear her melancholy tale.

by Cornelius Webb.

To The Nightingale

O Nightingale! that on yon bloomy spray
Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still,
Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill,
While the jolly hours lead on propitious May.
Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day,
First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill,
Portend success in love; O, if Jove's will
Have linked that amorous power to thy soft lay,
Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate
Foretell my hopeless doom in some grove nigh;
As thou from year to year hast sung too late
For my relief, yet hadst no reason why:
Whether the Muse, or Love, call thee his mate,
Both them I serve, and of their train am I.

by John Milton.

Sonnet To The Nightingale

O nightingale that on yon blooming spray
Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still,
Thou with fresh hopes the Lover’s heart dost fill,
While the jolly Hours lead on propitious May.
Thy liquid notes that close the eye of Day,
First heard before the shallow cuckoo’s bill,
Portend success in love. O if Jove’s will
Have linked that amorous power to thy soft lay,
Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate
Foretell my hopeless doom, in some grove nigh;
As thou from year to year hast sung too late
For my relief, yet had’st no reason why.
Whether the Muse or Love call thee his mate,
Both them I serve, and of their train am I.

by John Milton.

Sonnet Iii: To A Nightingale

Poor melancholy bird---that all night long
Tell'st to the Moon, thy tale of tender woe;
From what sad cause can such sweet sorrow flow,
And whence this mournful melody of song?

Thy poet's musing fancy would translate
What mean the sounds that swell thy little breast,
When still at dewy eve thou leav'st thy nest,
Thus to the listening night to sing thy fate!

Pale Sorrow's victims wert thou once among,
Tho' now releas'd in woodlands wild to rove?
Say---hast thou felt from friends some cruel wrong,
Or diedst thou---martyr of disastrous love?
Ah! songstress sad! that such my lot might be,
To sigh and sing at liberty---like thee!

by Charlotte Smith.

The Nightingale Near The House

Here is the soundless cypress on the lawn:
It listens, listens. Taller trees beyond
Listen. The moon at the unruffled pond
Stares. And you sing, you sing.

That star-enchanted song falls through the air
From lawn to lawn down terraces of sound,
Darts in white arrows on the shadowed ground;
And all the night you sing.

My dreams are flowers to which you are a bee
As all night long I listen, and my brain
Receives your song, then loses it again
In moonlight on the lawn.

Now is your voice a marble high and white,
Then like a mist on fields of paradise,
Now is a raging fire, then is like ice,
Then breaks, and it is dawn.

by Harold Monro.

To The Nightingale

Sweet bird, that sing'st away the early hours
Of winters past or coming, void of care,
Well pleased with delights which present are,
(Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers)
To rocks, to springs, to rills, from leafy bowers
Thou thy Creator's goodness dost declare,
And what dear gifts on thee He did not spare:
A stain to human sense in sin that lours,
What soul can be so sick which by thy songs
(Attired in sweetness) sweetly is not driven
Quite to forget earth's turmoils, spites, and wrongs,
And lift a reverend eye and thought to heaven?
Sweet artless songster, thou my mind dost raise
To airs of spheres, yes, and to angels' lays.

by William Henry Drummond.

That nightingale who weeps so sweetly,

‘Quel rosignol, che sí soave piagne,'

That nightingale who weeps so sweetly,
perhaps for his brood, or his dear companion,
fills the sky and country round with sweetness
with so many piteous, bright notes,
and it seems all night he stays beside me,
and reminds me of my harsh fate:
for I have no one to grieve for but myself,
who believed that Death could not take a goddess.
Oh how easy it is to cheat one who feels safe!
Who would have ever thought to see two lights,
clearer than the sun, make earth darken?
Now I know that my fierce fate
wishes me to learn, as I live and weep:
nothing that delights us here is lasting.

Translated by: A. S. Kline

by Francesco Petrarch.

Strada's Nightingale

The shepherd touch'd his reed; sweet Philomel
Essay'd, and oft essay'd to catch the strain,
And treasuring, as on her ear they fell,
The numbers, echo’d note for note again.

The peevish youth, who ne'er had foundbefore
A rival of his skill, indignant heard,
And soon (for various was his tuneful store)
In loftier tones defied the simple bird.

She dared the task, and, rising as he rose,
With all the force that passion gives inspired,
Return’d the sounds awhile, but in the close
Exhausted fell, and at his feet expired.

Thus strength, not skill prevail'd. O fatal strife,
By thee, poor songstress, playfully begun;
And, O sad victory, which cost thy life,
And he may wish that he had never won!

by William Cowper.

To The Nightingale

O nightingale, best poet of the grove,
That plaintive strain can ne'er belong to thee,
Blessed in the full possession of thy love:
O lend that strain, sweet Nighingale, to me!

'Tis mine, alas! to mourn a wretched fate:
I love a maid who all my bosom charms,
Yet lose my days without this lovely mate;
Inhuman fortune keeps her from my arms.

You happy birds! by nature's simple laws
Lead your soft lives, sustained by nature's fare;
You dwell wherever roving fancy draws,
And love and song is all your pleasing care:

But we, vain slaves of interest and of pride,
Dare not be blessed, lest envious tongues should blame;
And hence, in vain I languish for my bride!
O mourn with me, sweet bird, my hapless flame.

by James Thomson.

O Nightingale! Thou Surely Art

O Nightingale! thou surely art
A creature of a "fiery heart":--
These notes of thine--they pierce and pierce;
Tumultuous harmony and fierce!
Thou sing'st as if the God of wine
Had helped thee to a Valentine;
A song in mockery and despite
Of shades, and dews, and silent night;
And steady bliss, and all the loves
Now sleeping in these peaceful groves.
I heard a Stock-dove sing or say
His homely tale, this very day;
His voice was buried among trees,
Yet to be come at by the breeze:
He did not cease; but cooed--and cooed;
And somewhat pensively he wooed:
He sang of love, with quiet blending,
Slow to begin, and never ending;
Of serious faith, and inward glee;
That was the song -- the song for me!

by William Wordsworth.

About The Nightingale

From a letter from STC to Wordsworth after writing The Nightingale:

In stale blank verse a subject stale
I send per post my Nightingale;
And like an honest bard, dear Wordsworth,
You'll tell me what you think, my Bird's worth.
My own opinion's briefly this--
His bill he opens not amiss;
And when he has sung a stave or so,
His breast, & some small space below,
So throbs & swells, that you might swear
No vulgar music's working there.
So far, so good; but then, 'od rot him!
There's something falls off at his bottom.
Yet, sure, no wonder it should breed,
That my Bird's Tail's a tail indeed
And makes it's own inglorious harmony
Æolio crepitû, non carmine.

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

To The Nightingale, Which The Author Heard Sing On New Year's Day

Whence it is, that amazed I hear
From yonder withered spray,
This foremost morn of all the year,
The melody of May?

And why, since thousands would be proud
Of such a favour shown,
Am I selected from the crowd
To witness it alone?

Sing'st thou, sweet Philomel, to me,
For that I also long
Have practised in the groves like thee,
Though not like thee in song?

Or sing'st thou rather under force
Of some divine command,
Commissioned to presage a course
Of happier days at hand?

Thrice welcome then! for many a long
And joyless year have I,
As thou to-day, put forth my song
Beneath a wintry sky.

But Thee no wintry skies can harm,
Who only need'st to sing,
To make even January charm,
And every season Spring.

by William Cowper.

The Nightingale

And now soft night hath ta'en her seat on high,
Outbreathing balmy peace o'er all the land;
Silent in sleep the dimpled meadows lie
Like tired children soothed by mother's hand.
Throughout the valley hums the zephyr bland,
Charming the roses from their passionate dreams,
To hear the wild and melancholy streams
Pulse to the waving of its mystic wand;
While large and low eans down the mellow moon,
Whose whitely blazing urn doth make a silver noon.

But hark! what heavenly sound is this that now
Steals like a dream adown the fragrant vale,
Or like a thought across a maiden's brow,
That brings a lambent flush upon the pale?
It is the heart-song of the nightingale,
Which yearns forever upward in a mist
Of subtle sadness, clouding all who list,
With softened shadows of her secret ail;
And now so purely fills the silence clear,
Great Nature seems to hush her beating heart to hear.

by Anna Katharine Green.

To A Nightingale

O nightingale! how hast thou learnt
The note of the nested dove?
While under thy bower the fern hangs burnt
And no cloud hovers above!
Rich July has many a sky
With splendour dim, that thou mightst hymn,
And make rejoice with thy wondrous voice,
And the thrill of thy wild pervading tone!
But instead of to woo, thou hast learnt to coo:
Thy song is mute at the mellowing fruit,
And the dirge of the flowers is sung by the hours
In silence and twilight alone.

O nightingale! 'tis this, 'tis this
That makes thee mock the dove!
That thou hast past thy marriage bliss,
To know a parent's love.
The waves of fern may fade and burn,
The grasses may fall, the flowers and all,
And the pine-smells o'er the oak dells
Float on their drowsy and odorous wings,
But thou wilt do nothing but coo,
Brimming the nest with thy brooding breast,
'Midst that young throng of future song,
Round whom the Future sings!

by George Meredith.

The Nightingale

The nightingale, as soon as April bringeth
Unto her rested sense a perfect waking,
While late bare earth, proud of new clothing, springeth,
Sings out her woes, a thorn her song-book making,
And mournfully bewailing,
Her throat in tunes expresseth
What grief her breast oppresseth
For Tereus' force on her chaste will prevailing.
O Philomela fair, O take some gladness,
That here is juster cause of plaintful sadness:
Thine earth now springs, mine fadeth;
Thy thorn without, my thorn my heart invadeth.

Alas, she hath no other cause of anguish
But Tereus' love, on her by strong hand wroken,
Wherein she suffering, all her spirits languish;
Full womanlike complains her will was broken.
But I, who daily craving,
Cannot have to content me,
Have more cause to lament me,
Since wanting is more woe than too much having.
O Philomela fair, O take some gladness,
That here is juster cause of plaintful sadness:
Thine earth now springs, mine fadeth;
Thy thorn without, my thorn my heart invadeth.

by Sir Philip Sidney.

To The Nightingale

Sister of love-lorn Poets, Philomel!
How many Bards in city garret pent,
While at their window they with downward eye
Mark the faint lamp-beam on the kennell'd mud,
And listen to the drowsy cry of Watchmen
(Those hoarse unfeather'd Nightingales of Time!),
How many wretched Bards address thy name,
And hers, the full-orb'd Queen that shines above.
But I do hear thee, and the high bough mark,
Within whose mild moon-mellow'd foliage hid
Thou warblest sad thy pity-pleading strains.
O! I have listen'd, till my working soul,
Waked by those strains to thousand phantasies,
Absorb'd hath ceas'd to listen! Therefore oft,
I hymn thy name: and with a proud delight
Oft will I tell thee, Minstrel of the Moon!
'Most musical, most melancholy' Bird!
That all thy soft diversities of tone,
Tho' sweeter far than the delicious airs
That vibrate from a white-arm'd Lady's harp,
What time the languishment of lonely love
Melts in her eye, and heaves her breast of snow,
Are not so sweet as is the voice of her,
My Sara - best beloved of human kind!
When breathing the pure soul of tenderness,
She thrills me with the Husband's promis'd name!

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Florence Nightingale

UPON the whitewashed walls
A woman's shadow falls,
A woman walketh o'er the darksome floors.
A soft, angelic smile
Lighteth her face the while,
In passing through the dismal corridors.

And now and then there slips
A word from out her lips,
More sweet and grateful to those listening ears
Than the most plaintive tale
Of the sad nightingale,
Whose name and tenderness this woman bears.

Her presence in the room
Of agony and gloom,
No fretful murmurs, no coarse words profane;
For while she standeth there,
All words are hushed save prayer;
She seems God's angel weeping o'er man's pain.

And some of them arise,
With eager, tearful eyes,
From off their couch to see her passing by.
Some, e'en too weak for this,
Can only stoop and kiss
Her shadow, and fall back content to die.

No monument of stone
Needs this heroic one,—
Her name is graven on each noble heart;
And in all after years
Her praise will be the tears
Which at that name from quivering lids will start.

And those who live not now,
To see the sainted brow,
And the angelic smile before it flits for aye,
They in the future age
Will kiss the storied page
Whereon the shadow of her life will lie.

by Emma Lazarus.

The Nightingale

WHEN twilight's grey and pensive hour
Brings the low breeze, and shuts the flower,
And bids the solitary star
Shine in pale beauty from afar;

When gathering shades the landscape veil,
And peasants seek their village-dale,
And mists from river-wave arise,
And dew in every blossom lies;

When evening's primrose opes, to shed
Soft fragrance round her grassy bed;
When glow-worms in the wood-walk light
Their lamp, to cheer the traveller's sight;

At that calm hour, so still, so pale,
Awakes the lonely Nightingale;
And from a hermitage of shade
Fills with her voice the forest-glade.

And sweeter far that melting voice,
Than all which through the day rejoice;
And still shall bard and wanderer love
The twilight music of the grove.

Father in Heaven! oh! thus when day
With all its cares hath passed away,
And silent hours waft peace on earth,
And hush the louder strains of mirth;

Thus may sweet songs of praise and prayer
To Thee my spirit's offering bear;
Yon star, my signal, set on high,
For vesper-hymns of piety.

So may thy mercy and thy power
Protect me through the midnight hour;
And balmy sleep and visions blest
Smile on thy servant's bed of rest.

by Felicia Dorothea Hemans.

To The Nightingale

Exert thy Voice, sweet Harbinger of Spring!
This Moment is thy Time to sing,
This Moment I attend to Praise,
And set my Numbers to thy Layes.
Free as thine shall be my Song;
As thy Musick, short, or long.

Poets, wild as thee, were born,
Pleasing best when unconfin'd,
When to Please is least design'd,
Soothing but their Cares to rest;
Cares do still their Thoughts molest,
And still th' unhappy Poet's Breast,
Like thine, when best he sings, is plac'd against a Thorn.

She begins, Let all be still!
Muse, thy Promise now fulfill!
Sweet, oh! sweet, still sweeter yet
Can thy Words such Accents fit,
Canst thou Syllables refine,
Melt a Sense that shall retain
Still some Spirit of the Brain,
Till with Sounds like these it join.
'Twill not be! then change thy Note;
Let division shake thy Throat.
Hark! Division now she tries;
Yet as far the Muse outflies.

Cease then, prithee, cease thy Tune;
Trifler, wilt thou sing till June?
Till thy Bus'ness all lies waste,
And the Time of Building's past!
Thus we Poets that have Speech,
Unlike what thy Forests teach,
If a fluent Vein be shown
That's transcendant to our own,
Criticize, reform, or preach,
Or censure what we cannot reach.

by Anne Kingsmill Finch.

The Nightingale And Glow-Worm

A Nightingale that all day long
Had cheered the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When looking eagerly around,
He spied, far off upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glow-worm by his spark;
So stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop;
The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangued him thus right eloquent:

'Did you admire my lamp,' quoth he,
'As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song,
For 'twas the self-same power divine
Taught you to sing, and me to shine,
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night.'
The songster heard his short oration,
And warbling out his approbation,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.

Hence jarring sectaries may learn,
Their real interest to discern:
That brother should not war with brother,
And worry and devour each other,
But sing and shine by sweet consent,
Till life's poor transient night is spent,
Respecting in each other's case
The gifts of nature and of grace.

Those Christians best deserve the name,
Who studiously make peace their aim;
Peace, both the duty and the prize
Of him that creeps and him that flies.

by William Cowper.

The Nightingale

WHEN the moon a golden-pale
Lustre on my casement flings,
An enchanted nightingale
In the haunted silence sings.

Strange the song—its wondrous words
Taken from the primal tongue,
Known to men, and beasts, and birds,
When the care-worn world was young

Listening low, I hear the stars
Through her strains move solemnly,
And on lonesome banks and bars
Hear the sobbing of the sea.

And my memory dimly gropes
Hints to gather from her song
Of forgotten fears and hopes,
Joys and griefs forgotten long.

And I feel once more the strife
Of a passion, fierce and grand,
That, in some long-vanished life,
Held my soul at its command.

Ah, my Love, in robes of white
Standing by a moonlit sea,
Like a lily of the night,
Hast thou quite forgotten me?

Dost thou never dream at whiles
Of that silent, templed vale,
And the dim wood in whose aisles
Sang a secret nightingale?

Whither hast thou gone? What star
Holds thy spirit pure and fine?
In this world below there are
None like thee: and thou wert mine!

For a season all things last,
Love and Joy, and Life and Death;
Thou art portion of my past,
I of thine, whilst Time draws breath.

Fades the moonlight golden-pale,
And the bird has ceased to sing—
Ah, it was no nightingale,
But my heart—remembering.

by Victor James Daley.

The Nightingale

As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap and birds did sing,
Trees did grow and plants did spring;
Every thing did banish moan,
Save the nightingale alone.
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean'd her breast up-till a thorn
And there sung the doleful'st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity.
Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry,
Teru, teru, by and by;
That to hear her so complain,
Scarce I could from tears refrain;
For her griefs so lively shown
Made me think upon mine own.
Ah, thought I, thou mourn'st in vain;
None takes pity on thy pain;
Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee;
Ruthless bears, they will not cheer thee;
King Pandion, he is dead,
All thy friends are lapp'd in lead;
All thy fellow birds do sing,
Careless of thy sorrowing;
Whilst as fickle fortune smil'd,
Thou and I were both beguil'd.
Every one that flatters thee
Is no friend in misery:
Words are easy, like the wind,
Faithful friends are hard to find;
Every man will be thy friend
Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend,
But if store of crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call;
And with such-like flattering
Pity but he were a king.
If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will entice;
If to women he be bent,
They have at commandëment;
But if fortune once do frown,
Then farewell his great renown;
They that fawn'd on him before
Use his company no more.
He that is thy friend indeed
He will help thee in thy need:
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep;
Thus of every grief, in heart,
He with thee doth bear a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flatt'ring foe.

by Richard Barnfield.

Nightingale, The

To-night retired, the queen of heaven
With young Endymion stays;
And now to Hesper it is given
Awhile to rule the vacant sky,
Till she shall to her lamp supply
A stream of brighter rays.

Propitious send thy golden ray,
Thou purest light above!
Let no false flame seduce to stray
Where gulf or steep lie hid for harm;
But lead where music's healing charm
May soothe afflicted love.

To them, by many a grateful song
In happier seasons vow'd,
These lawns, Olympia's haunts, belong:
Oft by yon silver stream we walk'd,
Or fix'd, while Philomela talk'd,
Beneath yon copses stood.

Nor seldom, where the beechen boughs
That roofless tower invade,
We came, while her enchanting Muse
The radiant moon above us held:
Till, by a clamorous owl compell'd,
She fled the solemn shade.

But hark! I hear her liquid tone!
Now Hesper guide my feet!
Down the red marl with moss o'ergrown,
Through yon wild thicket next the plain,
Whose hawthorns choke the winding lane
Which leads to her retreat.

See the green space: on either hand
Enlarged it spreads around:
See, in the midst she takes her stand,
Where one old oak his awful shade
Extends o'er half the level mead,
Enclosed in woods profound.

Hark! how through many a melting note
She now prolongs her lays:
How sweetly down the void they float!
The breeze their magic path attends;
The stars shine out; the forest bends;
The wakeful heifers graze.

Whoe'er thou art whom chance may bring
To this sequester'd spot,
If then the plaintive Siren sing,
O softly tread beneath her bower
And think of Heaven's disposing power,
Of man's uncertain lot.

O think, o'er all this mortal stage
What mournful scenes arise:
What ruin waits on kingly rage;
How often virtue dwells with woe;
How many griefs from knowledge flow;
How swiftly pleasure flies!

O sacred bird! let me at eve,
Thus wandering all alone,
Thy tender counsel oft receive,
Bear witness to thy pensive airs,
And pity Nature's common cares,
Till I forget my own.

by Mark Akenside.

The Nightingale

To-night retired, the queen of heaven
With young Endymion stays;
And now to Hesper it is given
Awhile to rule the vacant sky,
Till she shall to her lamp supply
A stream of brighter rays.

Propitious send thy golden ray,
Thou purest light above!
Let no false flame seduce to stray
Where gulf or steep lie hid for harm;
But lead where music's healing charm
May soothe afflicted love.

To them, by many a grateful song
In happier seasons vow'd,
These lawns, Olympia's haunts, belong:
Oft by yon silver stream we walk'd,
Or fix'd, while Philomela talk'd,
Beneath yon copses stood.

Nor seldom, where the beechen boughs
That roofless tower invade,
We came, while her enchanting Muse
The radiant moon above us held:
Till, by a clamorous owl compell'd,
She fled the solemn shade.

But hark! I hear her liquid tone!
Now Hesper guide my feet!
Down the red marl with moss o'ergrown,
Through yon wild thicket next the plain,
Whose hawthorns choke the winding lane
Which leads to her retreat.

See the green space: on either hand
Enlarged it spreads around:
See, in the midst she takes her stand,
Where one old oak his awful shade
Extends o'er half the level mead,
Enclosed in woods profound.

Hark! how through many a melting note
She now prolongs her lays:
How sweetly down the void they float!
The breeze their magic path attends;
The stars shine out; the forest bends;
The wakeful heifers graze.

Whoe'er thou art whom chance may bring
To this sequester'd spot,
If then the plaintive Siren sing,
O softly tread beneath her bower
And think of Heaven's disposing power,
Of man's uncertain lot.

O think, o'er all this mortal stage
What mournful scenes arise:
What ruin waits on kingly rage;
How often virtue dwells with woe;
How many griefs from knowledge flow;
How swiftly pleasure flies!

O sacred bird! let me at eve,
Thus wandering all alone,
Thy tender counsel oft receive,
Bear witness to thy pensive airs,
And pity Nature's common cares,
Till I forget my own.

by Mark Akenside.

New Spring (1831)

Leise zieht dwch mem Gemiit

Soft, aloft, the bells do ring,
Gentlest thoughts they sing me.
Ring and sing, my song of spring,
Through the blue sky wing thee

To the house of budding flowers,
Borne by Echo fleeting.
Shouldst thou chance to see a Rose—
Say, I send her greeting!

Die Rose duftet

The Rose is fragrant—yet if she doth know
Her sweet scent's meaning, if the Nightingale
Herself feels aught that through Man's soul doth flow
At sound of her enraptured madrigal,

I know not, I. Yet often much offence
We find in truth! If Rose and Philomel
Do but pretend emotion, evidence
We have enough that such lies profit well.

Wie des Monies Abbild zittert

As the moon's fair image trembles
In the troubled, tossing tides,
Though herself, serene and stately,
O'er heaven's vaulted pathway glides,

Even so glidest thou, Beloved,
Still, serene; thine image taken
In my heart but seems to tremble,
For my heart is tossed and shaken.

Es war ein alter KSnig

There was an aged monarch,
His heart was sad, his hair was grey;
Alas, poor fool, he took him
A wife that was young and gay!

There was a handsome page-boy,
Light was his heart and gold his hair;
The silken train he carried
Of that queen so young and fair.

Dost thou not know my story,
So sweet, so sad to tell?
Death was the lovers' portion
Because they loved too well.

Durch den Wald im Mondenscheine

Through the forest, in the moonlight,
Late I saw the elfin train
Pass with hunting-horns resounding,
Heard their horse-bells ring again.

Golden antlers, nobly branching,
Crowned each little snow-white steed;
Like a flight of wild swans homing
Through the glades they passed at speed.

Smiled the Fairy Queen upon me—
Smiled, and looked, and passed me by.
Does her smile mean love's renewal?
Does it mean that I must die?

Die holden Wunsche bliihen

The tender wishes blossom,
And wither at a breath,
And bloom again, and wither—
Until they cease in death.

'Tis knowing this that saddens
For me the love most blest:
My heart has learned such wisdom
That it bleeds within my breast.

by Heinrich Heine.

Ode To The Nightingale

SWEET BIRD OF SORROW! ­why complain
In such soft melody of Song,
That ECHO, am'rous of thy Strain,
The ling'ring cadence doth prolong?
Ah! tell me, tell me, why,
Thy dulcet Notes ascend the sky.
Or on the filmy vapours glide
Along the misty moutain's side?
And wherefore dost Thou love to dwell,
In the dark wood and moss-grown cell,
Beside the willow-margin'd stream­
Why dost Thou court wan Cynthia's beam?
Sweet Songstress­if thy wayward fate
Hath robb'd Thee of thy bosom's mate,
Oh, think not thy heart-piercing moan
Evap'rates on the breezy air,
Or that the plaintive Song of Care
Steals from THY Widow'd Breast alone.
Oft have I heard thy mournful Tale,
On the high Cliff, that o'er the Vale
Hangs its dark brow, whose awful shade
Spreads a deep gloom along the glade:
Led by its sound, I've wander'd far,
Till crimson evening's flaming Star
On Heav'n's vast dome refulgent hung,
And round ethereal vapours flung;
And oft I've sought th'HYGEIAN MAID,
In rosy dimply smiles array'd,
Till forc'd with every HOPE to part,
Resistless Pain subdued my Heart.

Oh then, far o'er the restless deep
Forlorn my poignant pangs I bore,
Alone in foreign realms to weep,
Where ENVY's voice could taunt no more.
I hop'd, by mingling with the gay,
To snatch the veil of Grief away;
To break Affliction's pond'rous chain;
VAIN was the Hope­in vain I sought
The placid hour of careless thought,
Where Fashion wing'd her light career,
And sportive Pleasure danc'd along,
Oft have I shunn'd the blithsome throng,
To hide th'involuntary tear,
For e'en where rapt'rous transports glow,
From the full Heart the conscious tear will flow,
When to my downy couch remov'd,
FANCY recall'd my wearied mind
To scenes of FRIENDSHIP left behind,
Scenes still regretted, still belov'd!
Ah, then I felt the pangs of Grief,
Grasp my warm Heart, and mock relief;
My burning lids Sleep's balm defied,
And on my fev'rish lip imperfect murmurs died.

Restless and sad­I sought once more
A calm retreat on BRITAIN's shore;
Deceitful HOPE, e'en there I found
That soothing FRIENDSHIP's specious name
Was but a short-liv'd empty sound,
And LOVE a false delusive flame.

Then come, Sweet BIRD, and with thy strain,
Steal from my breast the thorn of pain;
Blest solace of my lonely hours,
In craggy caves and silent bow'rs,
When HAPPY Mortals seek repose,
By Night's pale lamp we'll chaunt our woes,
And, as her chilling tears diffuse
O'er the white thorn their silv'ry dews,
I'll with the lucid boughts entwine
A weeping Wreath, which round my Head
Shall by the waning Cresent shine,
And light us to our leafy bed,­
But ah! nor leafy beds nor bow'rs
Fring'd with soft MAY's enamell'd flow'rs,
Nor pearly leaves, nor Cynthia's beams,
Nor smiling Pleasure's shad'wy dreams,
Sweet BIRD, not e'en THY melting Strains
Can calm the Heart, where TYRANT SORROW REIGNS.

by Mary Darby Robinson.

The Woodman And The Nightingale

A woodman whose rough heart was out of tune
(I think such hearts yet never came to good)
Hated to hear, under the stars or moon,

One nightingale in an interfluous wood
Satiate the hungry dark with melody;--
And as a vale is watered by a flood,

Or as the moonlight fills the open sky
Struggling with darkness—as a tuberose
Peoples some Indian dell with scents which lie

Like clouds above the flower from which they rose,
The singing of that happy nightingale
In this sweet forest, from the golden close

Of evening till the star of dawn may fail,
Was interfused upon the silentness;
The folded roses and the violets pale

Heard her within their slumbers, the abyss
Of heaven with all its planets; the dull ear
Of the night-cradled earth; the loneliness

Of the circumfluous waters,—every sphere
And every flower and beam and cloud and wave,
And every wind of the mute atmosphere,

And every beast stretched in its rugged cave,
And every bird lulled on its mossy bough,
And every silver moth fresh from the grave

Which is its cradle—ever from below
Aspiring like one who loves too fair, too far,
To be consumed within the purest glow

Of one serene and unapproached star,
As if it were a lamp of earthly light,
Unconscious, as some human lovers are,

Itself how low, how high beyond all height
The heaven where it would perish!—and every form
That worshipped in the temple of the night

Was awed into delight, and by the charm
Girt as with an interminable zone,
Whilst that sweet bird, whose music was a storm

Of sound, shook forth the dull oblivion
Out of their dreams; harmony became love
In every soul but one.

...

And so this man returned with axe and saw
At evening close from killing the tall treen,
The soul of whom by Nature’s gentle law

Was each a wood-nymph, and kept ever green
The pavement and the roof of the wild copse,
Chequering the sunlight of the blue serene

With jagged leaves,—and from the forest tops
Singing the winds to sleep—or weeping oft
Fast showers of aereal water-drops

Into their mother’s bosom, sweet and soft,
Nature’s pure tears which have no bitterness;--
Around the cradles of the birds aloft

They spread themselves into the loveliness
Of fan-like leaves, and over pallid flowers
Hang like moist clouds:—or, where high branches kiss,

Make a green space among the silent bowers,
Like a vast fane in a metropolis,
Surrounded by the columns and the towers

All overwrought with branch-like traceries
In which there is religion—and the mute
Persuasion of unkindled melodies,

Odours and gleams and murmurs, which the lute
Of the blind pilot-spirit of the blast
Stirs as it sails, now grave and now acute,

Wakening the leaves and waves, ere it has passed
To such brief unison as on the brain
One tone, which never can recur, has cast,
One accent never to return again.

...

The world is full of Woodmen who expel
Love’s gentle Dryads from the haunts of life,
And vex the nightingales in every dell.

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

A Translation Of The Nightingale Out Of Strada

Now the declining sun 'gan downwards bend
From higher heavens, and from his locks did send
A milder flame, when near to Tiber's flow
A lutinist allay'd his careful woe
With sounding charms, and in a greeny seat
Of shady oake took shelter from the heat.
A Nightingale oreheard him, that did use
To sojourn in the neighbour groves, the muse
That fill'd the place, the Syren of the wood;
Poore harmless Syren, stealing neare she stood
Close lurking in the leaves attentively
Recording that unwonted melody:
Shee cons it to herselfe and every strayne
His finger playes her throat return'd again.
The lutinist perceives an answeare sent
From th' imitating bird and was content
To shewe her play; more fully then in hast
He tries his lute, and (giving her a tast
Of the ensuing quarrel) nimbly beats
On all his strings; as nimbly she repeats,
And (wildely ranging ore a thousand keys)
Sends a shrill warning of her after-layes.
With rolling hand the Lutinist then plies
His trembling threads; sometimes in scornful wise
He brushes down the strings and keemes them all
With one even stroke; then takes them severall
And culles them ore again. His sparkling joynts
(With busy descant mincing on the points)
Reach back with busy touch: that done hee stayes,
The bird replies, and art with art repayes,
Sometimes as one unexpert or in doubt
How she might wield her voice, shee draweth out
Her tone at large and doth at first prepare
A solemne strayne not weav'd with sounding ayre,
But with an equall pitch and constant throate
Makes clear the passage of her gliding noate;
Then crosse division diversly shee playes,
And loudly chanting out her quickest layes
Poises the sounds, and with a quivering voice
Falls back again: he (wondering how so choise,
So various harmony should issue out
From such a little throate) doth go about
Some harder lessons, and with wondrous art
Changing the strings, doth upp the treble dart,
And downwards smites the base; with painefull stroke
Hee beats, and as the trumpet doth provoke
Sluggards to fight, even so his wanton skill
With mingled discords joynes the hoarse and shrill:
The Bird this also tunes, and while she cutts
Sharp notes with melting voice, and mingled putts
Measures of middle sound, then suddenly
Shee thunders deepe, and juggs it inwardly,
With gentle murmurs, cleare and dull shee sings,
By course, as when the martial warning rings:
Beleev't the minstrel blusht; with angry mood
Inflam'd, quoth hee, thou chauntresse of the wood,
Either from thee Ile beare the prize away,
Or vanquisht break my lute without delay.
Inimitable accents then hee straynes;
His hand flyes ore the strings: in one hee chaynes
Four different numbers, chasing here and there,
And all the strings belabour'd everywhere:
Both flatt and sharpe hee strikes, and stately grows
To prouder straynes, and backwards as he goes
Doubly divides, and closing upp his layes
Like a full quire a shouting consort playes;
Then pausing stood in expectation
If his corrival now dares answeare on;
But shee when practice long her throate had whett,
Induring not to yield, at once doth sett
Her spiritt all of worke, and all in vayne;
For while shee labours to express againe
With nature's simple touch such diverse keyes,
With slender pipes such lofty noates as these,
Orematcht with high designes, orematcht with woe,
Just at the last encounter of her foe
Shee faintes, shee dies, falls on his instrument
That conquer'd her; a fitting monument.
So far even little soules are driven on,
Struck with a vertuous emulation.

by William Strode.

Ode To A Nightingale

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness,---
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provencal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new love pine at them beyond tomorrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Clustered around by all her starry fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain---
To thy high requiem become a sod

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:---do I wake or sleep?

by John Keats.