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The Nightingale and the Glow-Worm
by
William Cowper


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A nightingale, that all day long
Had cheered the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied far off, upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glow-worm by his spark; 
So, stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop; 
The worm, aware of his intent, 
Harangued him thus right eloquent:
"Did you admire my lamp," quoth he,
"As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song,
For 'twas the self-same power divine
Taught you to sing, and me to shine, 
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night."
The songster heard his short oration,
And warbling out his approbation,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.

 

This poem is in the public domain.

 

 

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William Cowper (1731 – 1800), pronounced “Cooper,” was an English poet who enjoyed tremendous success and popularity during his lifetime, a happy change from the cruel bullying he endured as a child. He originally studied law, but discovered his gift for writing early on and published numerous volumes of poems and hymns, including “There Is a Fountain, Filled with Blood” and “Oh, For a Closer Walk with God.”  William suffered from crippling depression and mental illness throughout his life, but is remembered as one of the 18th century’s most influential poets.

 

 

 

 


Post New Comment:
JanetruthMartin:
I too,have yet to hear a nightingale! I love this poetic tale.
Posted 04/02/2017 01:31 PM
barbsteff:
My mother, who grew up in southwestern Wisconsin on the Wisconsin River, often talked about hearing nightegales, but never getting to see them Grateful foir the photograph. Interesting, but highly unlikely scenario.
Posted 04/02/2017 12:42 PM
rhonasheridan:
Charming.
Posted 04/02/2017 11:37 AM
Sarah Russell:
This poem could have been written today with it's gentle humor.
Posted 04/02/2017 07:49 AM


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