29 June 2012

Song of the Whip-poor-will

By Park Benjamin.

Complaining bird, that sing'st at eve
When all around is calm and still—
Why wilt thou make my spirit grieve,
And bid me "Whip poor will!"
What has poor Willy done, that he
Should be the burden of thy song.
As, sitting on yon old oak tree,
Thou chauates all night long — "Whip poor will!"
I whipped him o ice, but ah! in vein;
From copse and wood, from glen and hill,
That oft-repeated solemn strain
Still bids me "Whip poor Will"
And though the little fellow screamed
For being whipped he knew not why —
Till on you heavens the starlight gleamed,
There came that mournful cry — "Whip poor Will!"
On other themes, oh lonesome bird!
Employ thy deep, melodious bill,
And let me hear some other word,
And not "Wil "—" Whip poor will."
For William is a pleasant boy.
A merry-hearted, lovely one —
His father's pride, his mother's joy;
Why must I whip my son! — "Whip poor will"
What! Never done! wilt always sing?
Can no person don keep thee still!
Has thy small harp no other string,
Besides that "Whip poor will!"
'Tis even so — tis mine own thoght,
And not thy mate, does Willy wrong!
Then sing away — with sweetness fraught —
Sing that coin; laining, constant song — "Whip poor Will!"

February 24, 1842. Southern Banner 10(50): 1. The text of this poem is presented as based on the best interpretation possible of the text given online within a scanned version of the original newspaper page.