The Poet And The Bird

Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806 (Kelloe) – 1861 (Florence)

Said a people to a poet---' Go out from among us straightway!
  While we are thinking earthly things, thou singest of divine.
There's a little fair brown nightingale, who, sitting in the gateways
  Makes fitter music to our ears than any song of thine!'

The poet went out weeping---the nightingale ceased chanting;
  'Now, wherefore, O thou nightingale, is all thy sweetness done?'
I cannot sing my earthly things, the heavenly poet wanting,
  Whose highest harmony includes the lowest under sun.'

The poet went out weeping,---and died abroad, bereft there---
  The bird flew to his grave and died, amid a thousand wails:---
And, when I last came by the place, I swear the music left there
  Was only of the poet's song, and not the nightingale's.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era. more…

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