06 November 2013

The Secret - An 1858 Poem

By Lydia A. Caldwell.
Out of the South there came a bird,
And the soul of the Summer-time was stirred
With the sweetest song that was ever heard.
The magical notes of its wonderful strain,
Fell like the fall of musical rain
Into my heart and into my brain.
And in my song was a meaning, there,
A meaning strange and sew and fair,
Wonderful sweet, and fine and rare.
A meaning which I learned ere then,
But not from the rhyme of a poet's pen,
Nor from any song that is sung by men.
And then I cried, "O bird divine!
Where hast thou learned love's tender sign?
Never was song of bird like thine?
Thou has heard my heart in the night time beat.
Or else the small grass under my feet
Has dared to tattle my secret sweet.
For, wing thy low, or loud, as thou list,
The spell of thy singing who shall resist!
O, most musical plagiarist!
But sing it not — this wonderful tune!
To the whitest lily under the moon.
Nor to roses that blow in the heart of June.
And sing it not unto human ear;
Nor man, nor maiden, nor flower, may hear
My song, my secret, my mystery dear.
Then sang the bird, when I had done,
"There is not a wind blowing under the sun
But tells your secret to every one.
And yet the feeling is all in vain,
Though the busy wind and the garrulous men
Tell it a thousand times again.
The warm air throb like a living thing
Under the heat of my golden wing
As I pipe and pipe, as I sing and sing.
The world is wide, the world is round,
And to every shining bound
Flows my musical tide of sound.
But still my measure never grows old,
The immortal secret however is told,
Love only to love will itself unfold.
Into the South went back the bird,
But still the soul at summer is stirred
With the sweetest song that was ever heard.
March 18, 1858. Holmes County republican 2(30): 1. From the Home Journal.