Books: A HARDY SAMPLER

THE DARKLING THRUSH

I leant upon a coppice gate

When Frost was spectre-gray,

And Winter's dregs made desolate The weakening eye of day.

The tangled vine-stems scored the sky-Like strings of broken lyres,

And all mankind that haunted nigh

Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be

The Century's corpse outleant, His crypt the cloudy canopy

The wind his death-lament.

The ancient pulse of germ and birth

Was shrunken hard and dry, . And every spirit upon earth

Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among The bleak twigs overhead In a full-hearted evensong

Of joy illimited; An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small.

In blast-beruffled plume, Had chosen...

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