Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE NIGHTINGALE, by JOHN VANBRUGH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE NIGHTINGALE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Once on a time, a nightingale
Last Line: Would run away from her -- as I from you.
Variant Title(s): Learned Women
Subject(s): Birds; Nightingales; Unfaithfulness; Infidelity; Adultery; Inconstancy

ONCE on a time a nightingale
To changes prone;
Unconstant, fickle, whimsical,
(A female one)
Who sang like others of her kind,
Hearing a well-taught linnet's airs,
Had other matters in her mind,
To imitate him she prepares.

Her fancy straight was on the wing:
"I fly," quoth she,
"As well as he;
I don't know why
I should not try
As well as he to sing."

From that day forth she changed her note,
She spoiled her voice, she strained her throat:
She did, as learned women do,
Till everything
That heard her sing,
Would run away from her -- as I from you.

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