Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SILENT SINGER, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY



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THE SILENT SINGER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: All sudden she hath ceased to sing
Last Line: She mutely pities us.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Death; Love; Singing & Singers; Trees; Dead, The


ALL sudden she hath ceased to sing,
Hushed in eternal slumbering,
And we make moan that she is dead. --
Nay; peace! be comforted.

Between her singing and her tears
She pauses, listening -- and she hears
The Song we can not hear. -- And thus
She mutely pities us.

Could she speak out, we doubt not she
Would turn to us full tenderly,
And in the old melodious voice
Say: "Weep not, but rejoice."

Ay, musical as waters run
In woodland rills through shade and sun,
The sweet voice would flow on and say, --
"Be glad with me to-day. --

"Your Earth was very dear and fair
to me -- the groves and grasses there;
The bursting buds and blossoms -- O
I always loved them so! --

"The very dews within them seemed
Reflected by mine eyes and gleamed
Adown my cheeks in what you knew
As 'tears,' and not as dew.

"Your birds, too, in the orchard-boughs --
I could not hear them from the house,
But I must leave my work and stray
Out in the open day

"And the illimitable range
Of their vast freedom -- always strange
And new to me -- It pierced my heart
With sweetness as a dart! --

"The singing! singing! singing! -- All
The trees bloomed blossoms musical
That chirped and trilled in colors till
My whole soul seemed to fill

"To overflow with music, so
That I have found me kneeling low
Midst the lush grass, with murmurous words
Thanking the flowers and birds.

"So with the ones to me most dear --
I loved them, as I love them Here:
Bear with my memory, therefore,
As when in days of yore,

"O friends of mine, ye praised the note
Of some song, quavering from my throat
Out of the overstress of love
And all the pain thereof.

"And ye, too, do I love with this
Same love -- and Heaven knows all it is, --
The birds' song in it -- bud and bloom --
The turf, but not the tomb."

Between her singing and her tears
She pauses, listening -- and she hears
The Song we can not hear. -- And thus
She mutely pities us.






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