Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  The Phœbe-Bird

Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Phœbe-Bird

By George Parsons Lathrop (1851–1898)

YES, I was wrong about the phœbe-bird:

Two songs it has, and both of them I’ve heard.

I did not know those strains of joy and sorrow

Came from one throat, or that each note could borrow

Strength from the other, making one more brave

And one as sad as rain-drops on a grave.

But thus it is. Two songs have men and maidens:

One is for hey-day, one for sorrow’s cadence.

Our voices vary with the changing seasons

Of life’s long year, for deep and natural reasons.

Therefore despair not. Think not you have altered

If, at some time, the gayer note has faltered.

We are as God has made us. Gladness, pain,

Delight and death, and moods of bliss or bane,

With love and hate or good and evil—all

At separate times in separate accents call;

Yet ’tis the same heart-throb within the breast

That gives an impulse to our worst and best.

I doubt not when our earthly cries are ended,

The Listener finds them in one music blended.