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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

‘O Nightingale, Thou Surely Art’

William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

O NIGHTINGALE! thou surely art

A Creature of a fiery heart:—

These notes of thine—they pierce and pierce;

Tumultuous harmony and fierce!

Thou sing’st as if the God of wine

Had helped thee to a Valentine;

A song in mockery and despite

Of shades, and dews, and silent night;

And steady bliss, and all the loves

Now sleeping in these peaceful groves.

I heard a Stock-dove sing or say

His homely tale, this very day;

His voice was buried among the trees,

Yet to be come at by the breeze;

He did not cease; but cooed—and cooed;

And somewhat pensively he wooed:

He sang of love, with quiet blending,

Slow to begin, and never ending;

Of serious faith, and inward glee;

That was the Song—the Song for me!