Helen Maria Williams

(1761 - 15 December 1827 / England)

Elegy On A Young Thrush


WHICH ESCAPED FROM THE WRITER'S HAND, AND FAL-
LING DOWN THE AREA OF A HOUSE, COULD NOT
BE FOUND.
MISTAKEN Bird, ah whither hast thou stray'd?
My friendly grasp why eager to elude?
This hand was on thy pinion lightly laid,
And fear'd to hurt thee by a touch too rude.

Is there no foresight in a Thrush's breast,
That thou down yonder gulph from me wouldst go?
That gloomy area lurking cats infest,
And there the dog may rove, alike thy foe.

I would with lavish crumbs my bird have fed,
And brought a crystal cup to wet thy bill;
I would have made of down and moss thy bed,
Soft, though not fashion'd with a Thrush's skill.

Soon as thy strengthen'd wing could mount the sky,
My willing hand had set my captive free;
Ah, not for her who loves the Muse, to buy
A selfish pleasure, bought with pain to thee!

The vital air, and liberty, and light
Had all been thine; and love, and rapt'rous song,
And sweet parental joys, in rapid flight,
Had led the circle of thy life along.

Securely to my window hadst thou flown,
And ever thy accustom'd morsel found;
Nor should thy trusting breast the wants have known
Which other Thrushes knew when winter frown'd.

Fram'd with the wisdom nature lent to thee,
Thy house of straw had brav'd the tempest's rage,
And thou through many a Spring hadst liv'd to see
The utmost limit of a Thrush's age.

Ill-fated bird!-and does the Thrush's race,
Like Man's, mistake the path that leads to bliss?
Or, when his eye that tranquil path can trace,
The good he well discerns through folly miss?

Submitted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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