To the Owl
Sad bird of night, what sorrows call thee forth, To vent thy plaints thus in the mid—night hour? Is it some blast that gathers in the north, Threatening to nip the verdure of thy bower? Is it, sad oul, that Autumn strips the shade, And leaves thee here, unshelter’d and forlorn? Or fear that Winter will thy nest invade? Or friendless Melancholy birds thee mourn? Shout out, lone bird, from all the feather’d train, To tell thy sorrows to th’ unheeding gloom; No friend to pity when thou dost complain, Grief all thy thought, and solitude thy home. Sing on, sad mourner! I will bless thy strain, And pleas’d in sorrow listen to thy song: Sing on, sad mourner; to the night complain, While the long echo wafts thy notes along. Is beauty less, when down the glowing cheek Sad, piteous tears, in native sorrows fall? Less kind the heart when anguish bids it break? Less happy he who lists to Pity’s call? Ah no, sad owl! nor is thy voice less sweet, That Sadness tunes it, and that Grief is there; That Spring’s gay notes unskill’d, thou canst repeat; That Sorrow bids thee to the gloom repair. Nor that the treble songsters of the day Are quite estrang’d, sad bird of night! from thee; Nor that the thrush deserts the ev’ning spray, When darkness calls thee from thy reverie— From some old tow’r, thy melancholy dome, While the grey walls, and desert solitudes, Return each note, responsive to the gloom Of ivied coverts and surrounding woods: There hooting, I will list more pleas’d to thee Than ever lover to the nightingale; Or drooping wretch, opress’d with misery, Lending his ear to some condoling tale.