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The Caged Skylark

Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844 (Stratford, London) – 1889 (Dublin)

As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage,
  Man's mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells --
  That bird beyond the remembering h{'i}s free fells;
 This in drudgery, day-labouring-out life's age.
 Though aloft on turf or perch or poor low stage
  Both sing somet{'i}mes the sweetest, sweetest spells,
  Yet both droop deadly s{'o}metimes in their cells
 Or wring their barriers in bursts of fear or rage.

 Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest --
 Why, hear him, hear him babble |&| drop down to his nest,
  But his own nest, wild nest, no prison.
 Man's spirit will be flesh-bound, when found at best,
 But {'u}nc{'u}mber{`e}d: meadow-d{'o}wn is n{'o}t distr{'e}ssed
  For a r{'a}inbow f{'o}oting it nor h{'e} for his b{'o}nes r{'i}sen.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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