John Clare

(13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864 / Northamptonshire / England)

Early Nightingale


When first we hear the shy-come nightingales,
They seem to mutter o’er their songs in fear,
And, climb we e’er so soft the spinney rails,
All stops as if no bird was anywhere.
The kindled bushes with the young leaves thin
Let curious eyes to search a long way in,
Until impatience cannot see or hear
The hidden music; gets but little way
Upon the path - when up the songs begin,
Full loud a moment and then low again.
But when a day or two confirms her stay
Boldly she sings and loud for half the day;
And soon the village brings the woodman’s tale
Of having heard the new-come nightingale.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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