21 July 2013

The Whip-poor-will - A Poem from 1879

When apple-branches, flushed with bloom,
Load June's warm evenings with perfume,
And balmier grows each perfect day,
And fields are sweet with new-mown hay,
Then, minstrel loud, I hear thy note,
Up from the pasture thickets float —
Thine are the hours to love endeared
And summoned by thy accents weird,
What wild regrets — what tender pain,
Recalls my youthful dreams again,
As trailing down the shadowy years,
That old refrain loved memory hears —
The garish day inspires thee not;
But hid in some deep-shaded grot,
Thee, like a sad recluse, dost wait
The silver hours inviolate,
When every harsher sound is flown,
And groves and glens are thine alone,
Thou, when the rapt voluptuous night
Pants in the young moon's tender night,
And woods, and cliffs, and shimmering streams
Are splendid in her argent beams —
How thrills the lover's heart to hear
Thy loud staccato, liquid clear,
Whence comes thy iterated phrase;
That to the wondering ear conveys
Half-human sounds, yet cheats the sense
With vagueness of intelligence,
And, like a wandering voice of air
Haunts the dim fields, we know not where,
Henry M. Cornwell. August 21, 1879. Georgetown Times and Courier 14(23): 2. From: July, 1879; Scribner's Monthly 18(3): 416.