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Hilltop: A Literary Paper. Volume 1 Number 2

1 The Lark

1 The Lark

Believe me, how I envy thee
They life's extreme felicity
O little lark who prattlest so
Of love since first the day doth show,
And scatterest off the gentle dew
With which, the while, thou'rt drenched anew.

When phoebus first his course resumes
Thou liftest up they moistened plumes
To dry them in the sky so bright
With trembling of thy pinions light:
And leaping up with nimble bounds
Dost fill the air with lovely sounds.
Then is thy caroling so sweet
That every lover'd think it meet
To be, like thee, a bird, that he
Might throat his song so beauteously:
Then when thou dizzily hast flown
Thou once again art downward thrown
As when a maid lets spindle fall
From distaff at the evening call
Of sleep, her chin fall'n on her breast,
And takes beside the fire her rest:
page 10 Or when by day she sits and sews
And sees him in whom love's fire glows
Draw near her unexpectedly,
And droops her eyes so modestly,
Her little twisted bobbin fleet
Escapes her hand to seek her feet.
Just so dropst thou from high above,
O little lark, my little love,
Who more than nightingale dost please
That sings in bosky copse at ease.

Thy living can no man offend,
Nor dost with beak the wheat-ear rend
Asunder, as do birds we know
That work on men unending woe
By nibbling corn when it is green
Or husking what has ripened been:
But from the greening furrow's crest
Or of a fly or earthworm there
Dost to thine own a beakful bear,
Or caterpillar that has fled
From out the leaves when Winter's dead.

"Tis lying words the poets use
Who all you little larks accuse
That you betrayed to his sad fate
Your father, whom you all did hate,
By cutting from his royal head
The flaxen locks of power dread
In which the golden hair was found
Whereunto all his strength was bound.
And yet you're not alone in this
To be by poets told amiss
And greatly wronged: in woods around
The nightingale with ample sound,
But hidden by the leafage green,
Complains of them and vents her spleen.
So also does the swallow gay
Whene'er she sings as is her way.
And cease not yet, I pray, to sing
Still sweeter in your caroling
That those who dare of you to lie
May burst with swelling spite and die.

Nor cease in this regard to do
Light-heartedly, but still pursue,
When Spring returns, in your own sort
Your long-accustomed game and sport:
So never shall the nimble fingers
Of pretty shepherdess who lingers
And down among the furrows spies
You nest, and hears the chirping cries,
While you are singing stop to steal it
Nor in her breast or dress conceal it.
Live, happy birds, and ever dwell
In highest air, and ever tell
By sweetest song and nimblest wing
That once again the year's at Spring.