Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TEXT AND MORAL, by ALICE CARY

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TEXT AND MORAL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Full early in that dewy time of year
Last Line: And one must soar and sing, and one must weep.
Subject(s): Birds

FULL early in that dewy time of year
When wheat and barley fields are gay and green,
And when the flag uplifts his dull gray spear,
And cowslips in their yellow coats are seen,
And every grass-tuft by the common ways
Holdeth some red-mouthed flower to give it praise:

Just as the dawn was at that primal hour
That brings such tender golden sweetness in,
Ere yet the sun had left his eastern bower
And set upon the hills his rounded chin,
I heard a little song -- three notes -- not more --
Plained like a low petition at my door.

And all that day and other days I heard
The same low asking note, and then I found
My beggar in the likeness of a bird.
Surely, I said, she hideth some deep wound
Under the speckled beauty of her wing,
That she doth seem to rather cry than sing.

Haply some treacherous man, and evil-eyed,
Hath spoiled her nest or snared her lovely mate,
But while I spoke, a bird unharmed I spied
High in the elm-top, all his heart elate,
And splitting with its joy his shining bill,
Unmindful of that low, sad "trill-a-trill!"

At sunset came my boys with cheeks ablush,
And fairly flying on their arms and legs,
To tell that they had found within a bush
A bird's-nest, lined with little rose-leaf eggs!
Then, inly musing, I renewed my quest
Knowing that no bird singeth on her nest.

And still, the softest morns, the sweetest eves,
And when from out the midnight blue and still,
The tender moon looked in between the leaves,
That little, plaining, pleading trill-a-trill!
Would tremble out, and fall away, and fade,
And so I mused and mused, until I made

A text at last of the melodious cry,
And drew this moral (was it fetched too far?)
Life's inequalities so underlie
The things we have, so rest in what we are,
That each must steadfast to his nature keep,
And one must soar and sing, and one must weep.

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