Gerard Manley Hopkins

(28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889 / Stratford, Essex)

The Caged Skylark


As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage,
Man's mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells --
That bird beyond the remembering h{'i}s free fells;
This in drudgery, day-labouring-out life's age.
Though aloft on turf or perch or poor low stage
Both sing somet{'i}mes the sweetest, sweetest spells,
Yet both droop deadly s{'o}metimes in their cells
Or wring their barriers in bursts of fear or rage.

Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest --
Why, hear him, hear him babble |&| drop down to his nest,
But his own nest, wild nest, no prison.
Man's spirit will be flesh-bound, when found at best,
But {'u}nc{'u}mber{`e}d: meadow-d{'o}wn is n{'o}t distr{'e}ssed
For a r{'a}inbow f{'o}oting it nor h{'e} for his b{'o}nes r{'i}sen.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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