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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 Winged Worshippers

By Charles Sprague (1791–1875)

[Born in Boston, Mass., 1791. Died there, 1875. From The Poetical and Prose Writings of Charles Sprague. 1876.]

GAY, guiltless pair,

What seek ye from the fields of heaven?

Ye have no need of prayer,

Ye have no sins to be forgiven.

Why perch ye here,

Where mortals to their Maker bend?

Can your pure spirits fear

The God ye never could offend?

Ye never knew

The crimes for which we come to weep.

Penance is not for you,

Blessed wanderers of the upper deep.

To you ’t is given

To wake sweet Nature’s untaught lays,

Beneath the arch of heaven

To chirp away a life of praise.

Then spread each wing,

Far, far above, o’er lakes and lands,

And join the choirs that sing

In yon blue dome not reared with hands.

Or, if ye stay,

To note the consecrated hour,

Teach me the airy way,

And let me try your envied power.

Above the crowd,

On upward wings could I but fly,

I’d bathe in yon bright cloud,

And seek the stars that gem the sky.

’T were Heaven indeed

Through fields of trackless light to soar,

On nature’s charms to feed,

And Nature’s own great God adore.