In covert of a leafy porch,
Where woodbine clings,
And roses drop their crimson leaves,
He sits and sings;
With soft brown crest erect to hear,
And drooping wings.
Shut in a narrow cage, which bars
His eager flight,
Shut in the darker prison-house
Of blinded sight,
Alike to him are sun and stars,
The day, the night.
But all the fervor of high noon,
Hushed, fragrant, strong,
And all the peace of moonlit nights
When nights are long,
And all the bliss of summer eves,
Breathe in his song.
The rustle of the fresh green woods,
The hum of bee,
The joy of flight, the perfumed waft
Of blossoming tree,
The half-forgotten, rapturous thrill
All blend and mix, while evermore,
Now and again,
A plaintive, puzzled cadence comes,
A low refrain,
Caught from some shadowy memory
Of patient pain.
In midnight black, when all men sleep,
My singer wakes,
And pipes his lovely melodies,
And trills and shakes.
The dark sky bends to listen, but
No answer makes.
O, what is joy? In vain we grasp
Her purple wings;
Unwon, unwooed, she flits to dwell
With humble things;
She shares my sightless singer's cage,
And so--he sings.