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

A poem by William Cowper

Whence is it that, amazed, I hear
From yonder wither’d 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,
Commission’d 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 e’en January charm,
And every season spring.

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