Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DEAD LARK, by ALEXANDER ANDERSON



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THE DEAD LARK, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: On the slope, half-hid in grass, and right beneath the sounding wire
Last Line: To the carol of his fellows and the sunshine overhead.
Alternate Author Name(s): Surfaceman
Subject(s): Birds; Death - Animals; Larks; Railroads; Singing & Singers; Skylarks; Railways; Trains; Songs


ON the slope, half-hid in grass, and right beneath the sounding wire,
Lay the Lark, the sweetest singer in the Heavenly Father's choir,
Dead, no more to thrill the heavens with his music long and loud,
Coming from the sunny silence, moving on the fleecy cloud.
Tenderly the thing I lifted, smooth'd the ruffle on his breast,
That had still'd the beat of life, and sent his singing soul to rest.
O what melodies unutter'd, lyrics of the happiest praise,
Lay within my hands, forever useless to the summer days.
Then I thought a want would wander, like a strangely jarring tone
Through the singing choir, and only to be mark'd of God alone.
For we muffle up our vision, seeing not for earthly stain
All that He in wisdom fashions for His glory and our gain.
And as still I stood and held him, in the sunshine overhead
Sang and shook his merry fellows, heedless of their brother dead;
Then my heart was stirr'd within me as I heard them at their song,
For I deem'd their touch of music did this little fellow wrong,
And my tears came slowly upward, as a low sweet undertone
Whisper'd to me, "Thus forever sing the thoughtless of thy own.
Far into the realms of Fancy soar they in their sounding flight,
Heeding not below some brother with a wing of feebler might.
Yet the same sweet aspirations throb through all the songs he sings,
And the same deep impulse yearning for the better human things.
But his voice, like sounds in twilight, echoes but to die away,
While the deep heart throbbing in him fain would burst into the day.
But his higher fellows hear not, listen not its earnest tone,
That comes out in simple sound between the pauses of their own,
So he pines away in silence, keeping back the tide of song,
Till the rush and fret within him works at last its end in wrong;
And he, seeing beyond the promise of a better kindred band,
Dies, his bosom full of lyrics, like the lark's within my hand."
Waking up, the day's set labour still'd the fancies in my breast,
So I laid the fallen minstrel into his unnoticed rest,
Left him and the music with him lying in his grassy bed
To the carol of his fellows and the sunshine overhead.





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