A Prisoner.

A poem by Hattie Howard

Where I can see him all day long
And hear his wild, spontaneous song,
Before my window in his cage,
A blithe canary sits and swings,
And circles round on golden wings;
And startles all the vicinage
When from his china tankard
He takes a dainty drink
To clear his throat
For as sweet a note
As ever yet was caroled
By lark or bobolink.

Sometimes he drops his pretty head
And seems to be dispirited,
And then his little mistress says:
"Poor Dickie misses his chickweed,
Or else I've fed him musty seed
As stale as last year's oranges!"
But all the time I wonder
If we half comprehend
In sweet song-words
The thought of birds,
Or why so oft their raptures
In sudden silence end.

They do not pine for forest wilds
Within the "blue Canary isles,"
As exiles from their native home,
For in a foreign domicile
They first essayed their gamut-trill
Beneath a cage's gilded dome;
But maybe some sad throbbing
Betimes their spirits stirs,
Who love as we
Dear liberty,
That they, admired and petted,
Are only - prisoners.

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