Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE POET AND THE BIRD; A FABLE, by ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING



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THE POET AND THE BIRD; A FABLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Said a people to a poet - 'go out from among us straightway!'
Last Line: Was only of the poet's song, and not the nightingale's.
Subject(s): Nighingales; Poetry & Poets


A FABLE

I

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 gateway,
Makes fitter music to our ear than any song of thine!'

II

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.'

III

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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